Here’s a story for all you cat mothers out there. A story of heroism, kitten crocodile tears, trees, ticks, poison ivy, sneaky cats, darkness and more!! All the elements of a truly epic tale. SO EXCITING!!
Several months ago in the early spring, I got home from work late just a little before 8 PM due to a retirement party. When I arrived at my abode, I asked Mr. VS if he had seen the Gentleman, as Bitey was present for his dinner but the Gentleman was no where to be found. Mr. VS said no. I said, did you see the Gentleman this morning before work? No. Nor had I seen the Gentleman before work but had assumed all was well because perhaps Mr. VS had seen him. But apparently no one had seen the Gentleman since the night before and the Gentleman had spent the warm-ish spring night partying with all his nature friends. Uh oh!!
Now I was concerned. Where was my kitten? The Gentleman never misses yum time (dinner, breakfast, any of the important meals). I suggested to Mr. VS that we go outside where we could shout the Gentleman’s name about the yard in the hopes that we would hear his cries or rouse him from his kittenly slumber. Keep in mind that the Gentleman was a stray before we adopted him from the shelter and he was likely a city cat without much experience in the out of doors. But now his tentative love for nature has inspired him to party drunkenly into the wee hours with mice, moles and chippys.
After calling his name outside, we did finally hear his piteous cries coming from deep within the forest. However unlike normal, his cries were not coming any closer! Why was the Gentleman thus detained?
Mr. VS and I trekked down a wooded path in search of the Gentleman. Quite a ways from the house, the cries were coming from the right and Mr. VS plunged through the underbrush into the forest to take a look. I couldn’t see the Gentleman at all! I was afraid we’d find him injured. But Mr. VS spotted him high above, 35 feet up in a tree sitting on a branch, crying the crocodile tears of a kitten. Such massive tears!! Such terrible cries of desperation!! My darling Gentleman tiger!! Oh how I felt like a bad cat mother! WHAT WERE WE TO DO?? The tree had very few branches and all of them were far apart, not very condusive for human climbing!
Now the question was, how were we to rescue the Gentleman from such a high tree with night quickly falling around us? WHAT TO DO!! Luckily, we had a crack team on the case as Ms. VS is strong, smart and quite cunning and I was there to lend us the productivity enhancement we desperately needed by worrying about my darling in such terrible circumstances. When was the last time my darling had eaten anything? When had he had his last sip of water? Had my sweet kitten stayed in a tree all night? Why was he in a tree? What frightened him to such heights? And surely, we could not leave the gentleman up there until morning??? Right, Mr. VS??
Poor Mr. VS, pressed into duty upon such a cause as my kitten in a tree. He is truly long suffering at our hands.
At this point, we ran back to the house to get a ladder, one of those ultra heavy contraptions that extends. However, once we had lugged this heavy thing down through the underbrush, the ticks and brambles, the stone walls and fallen branches and the menacing poison ivy, it only extended to the first branch which was still about 15 feet from the branch that sheltered my crying Gentleman.
In the meantime, night was threatening to fall! DA DUMDUM!! (That’s suposed to be dramatic music!!) DAMN YOU NIGHT!! The sun was deserting us at our hour of need! It was getting quite dusky as night tends to do, plus the mosquitos were intent upon our tender flesh and Bitey was lending his paw by winding around our legs to trip us up in the falling dusk, participating in what we refer to as “sneak attack rubs.” (One of his favorite things to do to unsuspecting victims, both tripping, force loving and spreading his ticks.) And the tears of our kitten continued unabated from the branch of the tree. Mr VS asked him to pipe down, but that did little to help his desperate anxiety. MY HEART ACHED FOR MY DARLING!! (Clearly not for suffering Mr. VS but for the kitten in distress).
Mr. VS and I rushed back through the woods to the house to concoct a scheme to get the Gentleman out of the tree. Back at our base of operations, Mr. VS suggested that we create a contraption made out of a long thin piece of wood attached to a crate. Mr. VS would hoist this device aloft in the hopes that the Gentleman would clamber into the confines of the crate and be lowered to safety. With a zip of his drill, the device was made and we launched back into the night, but not without scrambling for a flashlight.
About half way into the woods, the flashlight was already starting to die and we were floundering in the dark. Mr. VS went up into the tree and held the basket contraption aloft near the branch where the Gentleman resided. The Gentleman was confused at first and continued to cry. Eventually he tried to back himself into the crate, but was failing miserably at getting himself inside. After trying for a while, Mr. VS’ arms were exhausted and it was full on dark and our flashlight was giving off very little light. It was time for a new plan.
We stumble-hiked back to the house (not at all as pleasant as drunk camping) and once inside scoured the ‘nets for a solution. Obviously the fire department or a tree limbing service was not an option at this time of day, plus they’d never get a fire truck way back there with no real road. We’d need someone to climb the tree or someone with a very very tall ladder. What else could we do? My hand wringing was immense!
I finally found an article that suggested a laundry basket. I decided I wanted one that was tall and not likely to tip, so found a flexible one with handles at the top and suggested this idea to Mr. VS. He was feeling exhausted and cranky at this point but finally, after listening to my moans and anxieties, he agreed to help me try to save my darling kitten. We found a rope, another small flashlight and something heavy to tie to the end of the rope to throw over the tree. I also grabbed some blankets, food and a nip toy to put inside the basket to inspire the Gentleman to action and we headed out into the night with waning hopes of rescue for a hungry naughty kitten.
Once back at the tree, Mr. VS climbed up yet again and tried to throw the rope over the branch that housed the Gentleman. This was hard work in the dark with very little light and something I would have failed at miserably.
However, after a few tries, the heroic Mr. VS managed to get the rope over the branch without hitting the kitten. The only problem was that the end of the rope was now stuck about 10 feet above Mr. VS’ head. Shite! Time to head back to the house to devise a way to grab that rope. We needed a hook. So once again, we made the trek to the house through the brambles, stone walls, poison ivy, and Bitey rubs. The hardships were indeed hard.
Mr. VS used his drill yet again and soon we had a long stick with a hook of metal coat hanger on the end. Back into the forest we trekked in the pitch black night, being tormented by the mosquito, toward our poor crying kitten.
Mr. VS again went up into the tree and used the hook to pull the rope down. YES! Now I took the rope and tied it through the handles of the basket and grabbed the end and started hauling the basket up into the tree.
The Gentleman valiantly tried to get into the basket but it was on the wrong side of the branch and the handles kept closing up and he couldn’t ease himself inside. Failure, yet again!
We lowered the basket and Mr. VS suggested we tie the basket to the other end of the rope to bring it up the other side of the branch. He also created a spreader bar from a stray stick he found to keep the flexible handles of the basket open so that the Gentleman could climb inside.
Tensions were raising steadily! Would the Gentleman actually be able to get himself into the basket? Did he know what was happening and was he brave enough to really try? When would Mr. VS and myself go to bed so we could go to work the next day? How many itchy bug bites and patches of poison ivy would we have after this ordeal?
Our measly flashlights were not very good at providing us much needed light at this point (clearly our prepping skills could use a boost), but we kept on, and sent the basket up the tree again to our darling crying Gentleman. This time we were on the right side of the branch and the basket stayed open. We watched with bated breathe as the Gentleman tried to back himself into the basket. Again and again, he tried his very best to lower himself inside. In fits and starts, he tried and tried again. Crying his kittenly tears!
And then!! THEN!!! Finally, the Gentleman was inside the basket!! SUCCESS!!!
Now I was in charge of lowering him down out of the tree. I lowered away but there was a quick moment of crisis as we hit another branch and almost upended the basket!! AHH!!! To come this far to drop the Gentleman now?!! NO!!
But with the help of Mr. VS and the long stick, the basket swung free and I lowered the Gentleman to the ground. I could finally breathe! WE HAD DONE IT!! The Gentleman was rescued!!
I pulled him out and his cries were most piteous but he was glad to be free of that branch. We started out of the woods with as much gear as we could carry with the poor Gentleman at our heels. He was slow to walk and seemed disorientated, but we kept stopping to let him catch up, encouraging him all the while. Once at the house, the kittens were fed their dinner, we took quick showers to scrub the ivy away and then exhausted we stumbled to bed after a 2 and a half hour ordeal. But we had done it…the kitten was safe and Mr. VS was officially my HERO!!
Several weeks later, Mr. VS and I came home to a missing Gentleman again at the ever important yum hour (food time!!). OH SHIT! NO OH NO, NOT ANOTHER TREE!!?? OMG!! I can’t!! We searched the yard high and low, calling his name and finally heard his little cries and yet again, they were not the cries of a cat in motion. WHAT THE!? Where was he??
Yes, we finally found him. The Gentleman was indeed crying from another tree, much closer to the house but still quite high up with few branches between us and him. Really??!! REALLY?!?
What happened next was epic and why oh why this didn’t happen the first time, I have no idea. Bitey had clearly been holding out or else there wasn’t enough room at the base of the first tree for him to preform his feat of acrobatic magic.
As we looked up at the Gentleman, who was again crying the tears of a kitten in the tree, we watched as Bitey launched his 15 pound body at the base of the tree with all his get up and go power and then he flew up the tree trunk as high as he could propel himself. Once he was up the trunk maybe 6 feet, he stopped and hung there by his claws for a moment. Then he carefully looked down and began lowering himself inch by inch with his claws, until finally he was low enough on the trunk that he jumped free.
The Gentleman had watched this display from above and with our encouraging calls, he left the safety of his branch and began lowering himself as instructed by Bitey, inch by inch with his paws and claws until he was once again on solid ground.
The Gentleman had finally learned how to climb a tree and I was a proud cat mother! Let’s hope Mr. VS and I never have to rescue another kitten from another tree in the dark!!
Stay tuned for the next tale of the Gentleman run amuck! He truly enjoys getting into scrapes despite his high levels of adorable-cuteness. Don’t let looks fool you folks! Don’t judge a cat book, by it’s cute fur patterns and little brown nose! The beautiful among us are usually trouble makers.