Up a Tree with No Way Down

D. E. Larsen, DVM

It was close to seven when I finally got out of the clinic. I knew that Sandy had fed the kids earlier. I just hoped that there was something left over for me.

I was greeted with a house full of gloom when I walked through the kitchen door.

“Morris is nowhere to be found this evening,” Sandy said. “The kids are upset.”

“Well, let’s go see if we can find him,” I said

All the kids followed me out the door.

“Here, kitty, kitty,” I called as we walked across the backyard. Then when there was no response, we walked down the driveway, repeating the call as we walked along. 

When we reached the end of the driveway, there was a weak “meow” in response to our call.

“Where did that come from?” I asked.

“I heard it,” Brenda said. “But I don’t know where it was from.”

I called again, “Here, kitty, kitty.”

“Meow, meow,” came the response, louder this time. 

“We are close,” I said. “You continue to call, and I will l listen.”

All the kids called, I stepped back off the driveway a bit, and Morris spoke again. I looked up, and there he was, probably thirty feet up a fir tree at the end of the driveway.

“There he is, up a tree,” I said as I pointed him out to the kids.

“What are we going to do?” Amy asked. “How is he going to get down?”

“He’ll come down when he gets hungry enough,” I said.

The following morning, Amy and Brenda were just coming into the house when I got up.

“He is still up there, Dad,” Brenda said. “Maybe we should call the fire department.”

“We are not going to call the fire department for a cat that can’t figure out how to come down from a tree,” I said. “If he is not out of the tree by tomorrow evening, we will figure out something to do.”

“What are you thinking about doing tomorrow night?” Sandy asked as we sat down for breakfast.

“Maybe I could cut the tree down,” I said. “When they have tree huggers in the trees on a logging site, they come down when the loggers fire up the power saw.”

“No, that would be too dangerous for Morris,” Brenda said. “Maybe we could put a board up to his branch to help him down.”

“Brenda, he is almost thirty feet up the tree. We don’t have a board that long,” I said. “I guess we could put some plastic pipe together that would be long enough. We could put some burlap on the end of the pipe for him to grab onto and lower him down that way.”

“That might work,” Amy said.

“I think the power saw is easier,” I said.


The kids were all down by the tree when I got home from the clinic. Morris had not moved from his branch. At least he hadn’t climbed higher in the tree.

“We brought some food and water down here this time,” Dee said. “He still doesn’t try to come down.”

“I’m going to get the power saw,” I said. 

“Dad, no!” the kids said in unison.

“Listen, in all my years as a veterinarian, I have never treated a cat that had been stuck in a tree,” I said. “Now, what does that tell you?”

“It means the fire department got them down,” Brenda said.

“It means they figure it out sooner or later,” I said. “How would everyone feel if we had the fire department out here working on getting a cat out of a tree, and they missed a call for a house fire. What if a kid died in that house fire while the firemen were out here getting a cat out of a tree.”

“Just don’t hurt Morris,” Amy said.

I got the power saw from the shed and took it to the base of the tree. I pulled the choke out and pulled the starting cord. The saw started. I adjusted the choke and let the saw idle for a moment.

Then I gave it the gas and let the chain run. It made a big racket. Morris started down the tree. He sort of tumbled down, several branches at a time, and then fell the last ten feet, landing on his feet in the moss around the base of the tree. I turned the saw off.

The kids swarmed Morris. He was fine and happy to be on the ground.

“See, they tell me it is the same with the tree huggers,” I said. “When the saw starts up, they can’t get down that tree fast enough.”

“He could have hurt himself,” Brenda said.

“If that was the case, I would have seen at least one cat in the last ten years that was injured by coming down a tree,” I said. 

The kids carried Morris to the house and gave him a can of cat food and a bowl of water. He would be treated like a king for the next few days.

“You guys treat him so special. He’ll figure it out and be out there climbing another tree next week,” I said.

Photo by Elena Yunina on Pexels.

Published by d.e.larsen.dvm

Country vet for over 40 years in Sweet Home Oregon. I graduated from Colorado State University in 1975. I practiced in Enumclaw Washington for a year and a half before moving to Sweet Home to start a practice.

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