Why cats sometimes don’t come back down from the tree and how you should react
Cats can climb well and move effortlessly through their territory. When climbing in trees, however, it happens again and again that cats do not come down again. What you can do and what is definitely not recommended, you can read here.
Cats are true climbers. If they have climbed into a tree or onto the roof of a house, they will usually come back themselves. If they do not manage to turn around, cats often even carefully and slowly walk backwards. In this way they move safely through any terrain. With amazingly precise movements cats balance on shelves in the house. They move between flower vases and decorations just as safely as outside between bicycles, garden tools or under bushes and in trees.
Cats climb by either pushing themselves forward with their hind legs or by holding on with the claws of their front feet and dragging their hind bodies. The claws on the front paws are curved and have very sharp tips. This allows them to get a good grip on soft materials such as the bark of a tree.
You would like to observe more closely how cats move during climbing? Then watch the following video. It shows a cat moving from climbing stone to climbing stone in a bouldering hall. In front of the wall the movements of the cat can be observed very well.
In the following video you can see the rescue of a cat from a 20 meter high tree by a tree climber
The claws protect the cat in the tree from slipping and falling down. With their front claws cats have very well suited climbing tools always with them.
The claws only help cats to climb up the tree – and not when they want to go down head first.
Due to gravity, they may then simply not be able to get far without slipping off. However, if cats have already climbed high up in the tree, they usually do not jump back down to the ground. Because here the risk of injury is too great. If they do it anyway and jump once from a great height, for example, from a balcony, a roof or a tree, they often injure themselves in the process. Even if the cat survives such a dangerous jump: the consequences are usually broken bones and injuries to the internal organs or lungs.
Here’s what you can do if the cat won’t come down from the tree on its own
If the cat is stuck, it is important that you remain calm and do not startle it.
- Talk reassuringly to the cat.
- Try to lure the cat with food. Often the desire to get to the food is stronger than the fear.
- Check if you can use a ladder, cat stairs or a board as help.
- Even an apple picker has already lifted many a cat out of the tree. Put some treats in the bag of the apple picker for this purpose. This method works especially well with small kittens, while larger cats don’t always fit in the apple picker.
- Very important: Before you do something rash, if in doubt, take your time and consider.
Get assistance if you can not help the cat from the tree alone
If the cat does not manage to climb from the tree by itself, it needs help. If you cannot help yourself, there is usually no choice but to call in the fire department or a tree climber to rescue the cat.
The fire department usually comes with a ladder truck. The ladder is extended and a firefighter tries to grab the animal, put it into a cat carrier and lower it back to the ground.
A fire department operation can cost between 100 and 300 euros. If you have a pet owner liability insurance, the insurance will cover these costs. However, the fire department can only help if they can drive next to the tree with the ladder truck.
Tree climbers are a good choice in inaccessible places. You are skilled at climbing into trees to cut them out, for example – and also rescue cats that can no longer get out of the tree on their own. The cost of tree climbers is usually similar to the cost of firefighters.
In the following video you can see the rescue of a cat from a 20 meter high tree by a tree climber.
Under no circumstances should you do this if you want to rescue your cat from the tree
In any case, avoid scaring or harassing the cat. This often only causes them to climb further up the tree. In addition, do not put yourself in danger in any case. If you use a ladder, check that it is solid and secure. Sometimes it helps to just wait. Many cats manage to climb down from the tree by themselves in the end. If the cat has spent a long time in the tree, you should give it food and water. And then the cat deserves a good cuddle and a snack after the excitement.