TreeCat Rescue Report: Novia
What: Stuck in a Live Oak for 7 days
Where: Fernandina Beach, FL
Rescue Date: 12.4.11
Rescue Climber: Danny Lyons
Novia just couldn't come down.
When TreeCat Rescue received a call from Wanda in Fernandina Beach, her cat Novia was in the tree for 6 days. After discussing the situation, we agreed she would call back in the morning if Novia was still stuck in the tree.
Novia waiting for TreeCat Rescue to come get her.
When Sunday morning came, Novia was still stuck in the tree, making it one long week. So I packed up the truck and started driving to Fernandina Beach. When I arrived, Novia was nestled in what apparently had become her safe place between two huge branches. Understandably, she appeared tired and a little anxious.
Wanda was telling me how Novia was moving and climbing around the tree from one spot to another. Sometimes she would climb out to the very tip of a limb at about 65 feet. Sometimes she would move to her safe spot which was almost 40 feet high.
I immediately started throwing my tag line into the tree to establish my climbing anchor and also to see how Novia would react. Just as I thought, as I worked below, she started mobilizing. She was moving around, demonstrating her new pastime of scrurrying along what by now has become a well-worn path in the tree. She went up and down a few times, seemingly agitated by my throw bag activities. As she moved through the tree, I noted her locations and movements and incorporated that into my overall plan.
Novia seemingly getting bored. At this point, she's been stuck in the tree for one week.
I decided to set up two anchors, allowing me to move along Novia's path, just in case she started moving while I was aloft. I had to be prepared to pursue her in the canopy of the tree.
Novia's location in the tree, marked by the big red dot. She climbs up and down the red path, creating more of a challenge for TreeCat Rescue.
Wanda explained to me that "Novia" means "Sweetheart" in Spanish. Novia is a small, 6 lbs. Calico. Wanda rescued her when she was a wild kitten. I also have a tiny Calico that I captured and adopted when she was a feral kitten. So, in a way, I felt I already knew Novia.
As I climbed into the canopy of the Live Oak, Novia shot up the tree and out to the end of her limb. My strategy was paying off. When I reached the limb, I sat right on top of it, just 12 feet away from her. I was now blocking her pathway that led to her safe place 25 feet below. She was officially isolated, but was perched way out on the very tip of the limb. As I planned my next move, Novia turned towards me and crouched down. Now I'm growing more concerned that she may want to jump.
Novia isn't sleeping. She's doing the "Ostrich," hoping the strange guy wearing a helmet and the rest of the world goes away.
Novia started doing the "Ostrich," a word I use to describe a cat who will hide their face or shut their eyes, hunker down and hope the rest of the world just goes away. I've seen this defense mechanism before. A strong-willed cat can hunker down and ignore almost anything. My focus now is to snap her out of it, get her attention and encourage her to walk towards me.
The tag line and throw bag were still perfectly placed between Novia and me. After trying to get Novia to me to no avail, I decided to break through the Ostrich defenses in another way. I moved closer towards Novia, slowly and carefully.
Danny is climbing into the Live Oak canopy. Thanks to Wanda for this photo.
I grabbed the tagline and throw bag as I moved towards the tip of the limb. Then I threw the throw bag so it landed on a branch just behind Novia. I began moving it around. I was hoping to scare her so she would move towards me.
She didn't like the throw bag. So I escalated the agitation and she started to move towards me, trying to get away from the small, irritating, busing bag behind her. It was working! But now she was looking past me and all around, as if she wanted to jump. I called down to the group of concerned neighbors, "She may try to jump, keep an eye on her!"
After a little more agitation with the throw bag, Novia kept walking towards me. She would look back at the hated throw bag and then back at me. She was not happy with it.
It didn't take long until Novia (doing the low-crouch walk) was within reach. I didn't waste time petting her because I sensed her becoming very desperate to escape the situation. Trying to win her over at this point would only give her time to try to get away from me or worse, jump from 65 feet.
I quickly grabbed the scruff of her neck with my bare left hand. She sweetly surrendered. No fighting, no biting, no complaints. I switched hands and grabbed her with my right hand with my trusty glove-bag. With one swoop, Novia was now secure and in the bag. An applause erupted from the ground from the concerned neighbors who had gathered below. They had been trying to coax Novia down all week and were worried sick about her.
I lowered Novia in the secure bag and Wanda took her inside and gave Novia water, treats and lots of love. As I was leaving, Wanda said that Novia was drinking and eating and very happy to be home safe.
An email from Wanda said, "She is so happy to be back in her home, and has been eating, drinking, purring and sleeping. I know she is a different kitty after this experience - hopefully, a more careful one. I now know why they have nine lives."
Wanda and Novia reunited!Thanks to Wanda for this photo.