Cat Rescue Guide

Courtesy of S.M.A.R.T.

This guide contains simple facts and questions that can help you understand when it’s time to call a professional.



1. What is the greatest threat to your cat in the first 24 hours?


Usually, it's humans.  People often try to rescue cats quickly without a full understanding of what can go wrong. 


In our experience about 80% of cats between 1-3 years old come down by themselves within 72 hours.  Of course, there are reasons why some cats will never come down without help.


Using a ladder, a water hose, or throwing things can cause the cat to become more stressed and climb much higher early on. 


Many healthy cats can jump to soft ground from as high as 30 feet up.  However, if the cat is forced to jump or fall, it could hit obstacles or cement leading to serious injury.


Leaving food attracts other animals and we have never seen food work to get a cat down.  


2. When should I seek help?


As difficult as it is to believe, cats can survive for several days in a tree and will rarely fall. If the cat has not come down after 36-48 hours you will likely want to call a professional for help.


Water is the most important need for animals in trees beyond 36-48 hours.


If your cat requires medication or is unhealthy, it is better to get help early on. If the weather forecast is very poor, it may also warrant an early rescue.


3. How can I rescue the cat myself?


People have come up with many clever ways to rescue their cats safely while standing on the ground.  After 24-48 hours of having a cat in a tree, it may be worth trying some things. 


Talking to your cat as if it is sitting comfortably in your home can often help coax a cat to the ground.  Cats can sense stress/fear in their owners which can prevent the animal from coming down.


Be careful not to frighten the cat into a bad fall.  Never attempt to spray a cat out of the tree with water - most of the time you just end up with a wet, upset cat clinging to the tree.  


Be careful of hazards in and around the tree. Power lines and dead tree branches can kill!  


We don't recommend using a ladder, but if you attempt a ladder rescue always have a second person to help stabilize your ascent and descent.  Know ahead of time how you will hold the cat safely while you climb.  Be safe for yourself and your animal!


Never attempt an aerial cat rescue or tree climb without proper tree climbing training and equipment.


Never handle a fearful cat while attempting to climb a tree – it can endanger your life and the life of the cat.  Call a professional instead.


Rescue Professionals

  • SMART (Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team)

This team can respond 24/7 to animal rescues within Los Angeles City Limits. Call 1-888-452-7381 or visit the SMART Facebook Site.

  • Cloud Nine Tree Climbing

We can help rescue cats anywhere in the Greater LA Area. Click here to contact us.  Our fees help cover costs to support the rescue of feral and stray cats from trees.

  • Dan Kraus’ Cat In A Tree Rescue Directory

For all other areas of the US, check out Dan's Directory at this website

Other Options

  • Fire Department – Sometimes a local fire department will attempt animal rescue; many times they will not. The fire department’s top priority is saving human lives. In addition, they may not have the access required to get a ladder in place to rescue a cat from a tree.  Do not allow the fire department to hose a cat out of a tree.  It is traumatic for the animal and often does not work.  Note that firefighters usually lack nets for protecting cats from jumps or falls.   


  • Tree Care Companies – You can also contact a local tree care company that has trained climbers. They may charge a minimum fee to assess the situation in person.  Be aware that they are often not trained to handle animals and usually don't have nets to protect cats from jumping or falling.


  • Local Animal Shelters or Veterinarian – They may know of other professionals offering tree rescue services.


  • Utility Company - If the cat has climbed an electrical pole you may need to contact the utility company for assistance. Never attempt to climb a utility pole as you could be electrocuted.

Print Print | Sitemap
2020 Cloud Nine Tree Climbing LLC