Finally, a sunny day. Often in Portland, Oregon when the wind blows out of the Columbia River Gorge on a Spring/Summer day the temperatures rise and the trees sway. I was sitting on the back deck gaining some Vitamin D when I opened my eyes and gazed upwards to the tops of the swaying Alders. Imagine my surprise when I viewed a dark shape nearly at the top of the tree. Probably 60+’ up was an animal. A raccoon ? A cat? I grabbed the telephoto lens and shot away as I could see it was a cat. A domesticated cat? A pregnant domesticated cat? A fat cat? Regardless, of its origins, it was a cat holding on as the tree swung several feet in either direction in the strong East wind.

Cat in a Tree 1 SwittersB
Cat in a Tree 2 SwittersB
Cat in a Tree 3 SwittersB
Cat in a Tree 4 SwittersB

On this particular day, I do indeed hope the cat has 9 lives. My back yard has been visited by Coyotes, Hawks and Raccoons. I hope this cat makes it down. The wind will blow for several more hours as temps rise. Hold on Kitty. I have to leave for the afternoon/evening in the midst of this wild life-domesticated pet drama. I will have faith that in any lulls with the wind, Penelope (yes I named her) will move downward toward safety.

Penelope the Cat: Down & Out (SwittersB)

Well now….I arrive home from a family gathering and bit of a drive, tired and ready to hit it. Oh yeah…the cat in the tree? It is pitch black out back, so I get a flash light and shine it to the top of the tree. Bouncing back are the reflective eyes at the top of the tree. And, a non-stop of woeful ‘meows’. The wind had stopped by now. What the hell now? I walk over into the area of the tree, with a small spring separating the tree from myself. The tree is oddly swayed and rotten branches extend up a good 40′ up into the flourishing area where the cat pleads for help. 

A few neighbors gather and a discussion ensues with the options of ‘let’s go to bed’; ‘it’s a cat, it will be ok’; ‘let’s cut the tree down’; ‘now?’; ‘would the fire department come out?’; ‘really?’. ‘Here kitty kitty’s’ are offered upward and ‘meows’ respond downward.

Our flashlights point upward, and suddenly as if either drawn to our summons or thinking ‘finally, I can see were I am going!’…Penelope the Cat commences a harrowing, claw clinging, upside down descent from on high. This little drama results in a bunch of ‘oh my God’s’ and ‘I can’t watch’s’. The cat is silent. Every ounce of that cat’s being is clutching that tree’s trunk as it slides inch by inch, sometimes a rapid foot all at once, down that tree trunk. This draws out until, we are certain there cannot be any energy left to continue. Yet that cat did, until the final five feet. It swung around tail (half tail missing) downward and after hanging by the claws it let go into the brush below, beside the small stream. I met Penelope and she was immediately drawn to me.

Well this resulted in a rather sleepless night of my two dogs, annoyed as hell, testing the lightning quick paws of Penelope. Not a relaxing night. And, the cat was/is badly dehydrated and starving. Who knows how long it had been up there? It is now open to debate within the family of how to proceed. I will be dutiful to scour the area for wanted posters.

For now, I need to make a litter box or decide if this is a house cat or outside cat…should Penelope decide to stay awhile.     zzxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx   mmmmmmmmmmmmm,,,,,  (I do know the cat is fascinated by the cursor moving on the screen here).