Kitty up a tree? Who you gonna call?

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We were faced with this question a few months ago, when Harley the tabby cat (AKA Boots) got himself severely stuck high up inside a big old cypress tree in the backyard.    He had steadily worked his way up until he was completely trapped.   The sharp twigs were pinning him and making it impossible for him to find a way to climb down.

How were we going to rescue him?  There was no real way to climb the tree as it is more like a giant wide bush, with no central trunk and we had no access to a tall enough ladder.   I tried using my small ladder and climbing in as far as I could, I even pushed a plank of wood up there in the hopes that Boots would be brave and use it to come down, but he was basically paralyzed with fear and I had no way to help him.

Sadly, the days of the Fire Department coming to help a “cat stuck up a tree” are long gone, and unfortunately, we didn’t have the phone number for Superman, so we reached out via Facebook for help.   In the meantime, poor Boots stayed up the tree for many hours, crying sorrowful mews for help.   All through the night we would go out there to talk to him and reassure him in the darkness.   After a while he became silent and we worried he may have been injured or died of shock.   It was a heartbreaking feeling of being completely helpless.

In the morning light the visibility was enough that we could see he was still OK, but very scared.  To make things worse for him, he was now being taunted by squirrels who were inside the tree with him, just inches away!  They were squeaking and shaking their tails and I’m pretty sure they were saying “Hey Boots – ain’t karma a bitch?” 

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Finally, we got word via Facebook that Los Angeles has a FREE animal rescue team known as Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team (Los Angeles).    We called them, and they said they’d be out as soon as possible, and in just a few hours they arrived.

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Annette Ramirez, Hugh Briefman and Armando Navarrete pulled up in their fully equipped animal rescue vehicle and we were one step closer to seeing Boots safe and sound.   They assessed the situation and formulated a rescue plan.   It was a delicate operation as the best access point was from the front of the tree, but that was very close to the pool and there wasn’t much room to place a ladder.   Annette geared up, climbed the ladder, and with guidance from her two teammates she was able to access Boots and release him from his tree-cage and pull him into a bag. Then the wonderful words rang out “Boots is in the bag.”    Once safely down, Boots was released from the bag inside the house, and was none the worse for his ordeal, except for his damaged pride.    The words “let the cat out of the bag” will always now have new meaning to me.

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So, what is the answer to the question:  Kitty up a tree…. Who you gonna call?   It’s call S.M.A.R.T!

These wonderful angels truly saved our Boots that day and we are so grateful to them.    Boots now doesn’t go any higher than his own Kitty Condo, inside the house!

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Here is a link to the short film of Harley’s (AKA Boots) big rescue:

Every day the brave men and women of S.M.A.R.T. risk their lives for animals both wild and domestic all over Los Angeles County.  For more information about S.M.A.R.T.  or to share their documentary movie go to:     S.M.A.R.T.  can be reached at (213) 305-4095

Please help share the word about this truly life-saving service. 

Watch Harley’s rescue in more detail and hear the words: “Boots is in the bag”




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