How a Rescuer Saved a Cat Who Spent Days Stuck 80 Feet Up a Tree (He Had Some Tuna)
Armed with a can of tuna and a boatload of patience, Matt Bauman spent two hours up a tree last week. More than half that time involved trying to coax a frozen, exhausted cat toward him—more than 80 feet above the ground.
Savage had spent about two weeks up in the poplar tree, surviving extreme cold while having nothing to eat or drink. He was so tired that he looked like he was falling asleep as Baumann waited to get him into a bag.
"They don't normally go that high, but they are good climbers," Baumann tells Daily Paws. "They don't have any problem getting up, it's the getting down."
He's been in the tree-care business for 12 years now, running Baumann Tree Service in the Knoxville, Tenn., area. He rescues cats—enough of them he "could write a book"— when he has free time.
Rescuing Savage, who Baumann and team had nicknamed Jingle, took a couple of tries. The first attempt on Dec. 22 failed when Savage climbed too high for Baumann to get to him, and he remained too high in the tree when Baumann returned the next day.
As Christmas arrived, it became frigidly cold, too cold for Baumann to resume the rescue. On Dec. 28, he was still too high, but Baumann climbed up again with all the supplies he could carry.
He got up there, but the tuna took a while to work its magic. During rescues, Baumann takes his time to "let them know I don't mean any harm. My job is to get them down on the ground in one piece."
Savage, fighting off his exhaustion, eventually made his way over toward Baumann and his empty rope bag—aka the feline delivery device.
The waiting took more than an hour, but it was easy once Savage was within reach. He was so tired, hungry, and dehydrated that it wasn't hard for Baumann to get him into the bag and carry him down gingerly. Finally, after two weeks in the tree, Savage was back on the ground.
"I knew it was time," Baumann says. "I was like, 'I got to get [him] down.'"
It's unclear how Savage ascended more than 80 feet up the tree, but he seemed to be doing remarkably well after getting back to the ground. He reunited with his grateful owners before a veterinarian looked him over. He was dealing with some frostbite, but his blood work was mostly good. He received some updated shots and was dewormed before he headed back home.
It was one of the highest cat rescues Baumann ever completed, but the self-proclaimed dog person will surely have some cat rescues in his future. Until the next one, he'll have to settle for corralling his three cats—Phantom, Bandit, and kitten Midnight—at home.