The Sunday before we were to return from Colombia, I got an e-mail from my sister-in-law saying that Fortuna, our smaller female cat, hadn’t come home when she called. The next day she wasn’t back either.
Due to a delayed flight, we got home at 2:30 a.m. Thursday. When we went to the lanai, we found that the cats had been getting out through a hole in the screen door and only Pumpkin was there. Alicia called, and Simon turned up, and then Ruta. We heard meowing far off beyond the neighbor’s house. “Oh, no, Fortuna’s in a tree!” said Alicia.
The next day we explored the neighbors’ yards until we found her, high in a tree surrounded by thick jungle, two doors down. After a series of fruitless calls to our arborist and various others, we spent two hours on the neighbors’ roof, trying to sling a clothesline over a branch. We finally managed to pull a basket up into the tree, laden with cat food and water. The plan was for Fortuna to climb into it to eat, whereupon we would drop the basket down.
Unfortunately, she didn’t go near the basket. I changed out the cat food and water on Friday while Fortuna meowed at me. As far as we know, it was her first time ever to climb a tree in her life. She was an apartment cat until a few months ago.
Saturday morning our tree guy finally called back. He had misplaced his phone. He came right over and got to work.
This is a view of the tree from the neighbors’ roof. The ladder is twenty feet long, so that gives you an idea of the height. The cat was initially at the top of the vine, where there’s a cluster of philodendrons. Then she got scared and climbed further up.
She ended up higher than can be seen in this photo.
There’s actually a driveway among all that growth.
Fortuna freaked out when Ron climbed up, and went as far out on her limb as she could. You can see Ron in the middle of this photo. Fortuna is due left of his feet about halfway to the edge of the photo, where the thick branch forks. They must have been more than 50 feet above the ground.
Here you can see her better, in the lower left corner of the photo.
Ron dropped the rope to me, and I sent up a cat carrier.
Then he edged over to where he could reach her. He grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and stuffed her into the carrier. After closing the doors, he lowered her down to where I stood on the roof. (Sorry, the first video is just four seconds.)
Back at the house, she promptly sought privacy behind the woodpile. (The floor is filthy because of some heavy rains while we were gone that flooded the porch edge. Alicia wants you to know it’s not because of her housekeeping.)