cat in tree

Will a Cat Eventually Come Down from a Tree?

Quicksand, piranhas, and cats stuck in trees seemed like common problems, according to my childhood cartoons, anyway. But of the three, the only one I have ever actually encountered was a cat in a tree. So, of course, our daily cartoon dose depicts our feline friends dutifully rescued by a cartoon hero in a firetruck. But is this really necessary? Will a cat eventually come down from a tree, or do cats really need to be rescued from trees?

Sometimes, cats really do need to be rescued from trees. Cats are great climbers and fantastic jumpers, but sometimes they can get themselves into situations where they need some extra help. For example, a cat may be too scared or injured or physically unable to get down on her own, and in this case, you’ll need to find some way to help your cat get down from the tree.

In this article, we’ll talk about whether or not cats really do need to be rescued from trees. We’ll also take a look at how you can help your kitty out of this sticky situation and who to call if you can’t get her down on your own. But first, let’s take a look at why cats get stuck in trees in the first place.

Do Cats Really Get Stuck in Trees?

Cats do actually get stuck in trees from time to time. Getting stuck in a tree is more likely to happen to an indoor cat or a kitten who just doesn’t know how to manage outside or who doesn’t have the strength to climb down well. It can also happen to a cat who has become injured or scared. For a variety of reasons, cats can get up the tree and then can’t come back down. So let’s take a closer look at why cats climb trees after all.

Why Cats Climb Trees

Our feline friends climb trees for a couple of reasons. Usually, it’s because they are either being chased or they are chasing something! A frisky feline might be so busy stalking a squirrel or a bird that they don’t notice the height of the tree they’re climbing. They eagerly scamper up a tall tree in the excitement of the moment and suddenly realize they are way out of their comfort zone.

On the other hand, they may be chased by a dog or some other animal and go up a nearby tree for safety. They’ll stay perched in the tree until they feel the danger has passed and hang out up in that tree for a good, long time.

Some cats will climb trees for fun, boredom, and just to explore what’s up there. Cats are notoriously good at climbing up, but sometimes, they can’t climb back down.

Why Can’t Cats Climb Down from Trees

A cat’s retractable nails are shaped like fishhooks, enabling them to climb straight up. However, the shape of their claws means that in order to get back down, they would have to climb down the tree backward if it is too high to jump.

If your cat has lots of experience climbing trees, they may be able to jump down on their own or climb down from branch to branch. But this isn’t always the case, either. There may not be enough branches for you cat to climb down with or she may be way too high up the tree to jump.

And to be completely honest, not every kitty who goes up a tree has learned this trick to get back down. They might stay in the tree simply because they don’t know the way down. Indoor cats who aren’t used to climbing that high are probably more likely to get stuck in a tree than a cat that is used to spending time in the great outdoors since they don’t have the practice.

Your Cat May Be Stuck in a Tree Because of a Predator

Of course, if the kitty has shimmied up that tree because of a predator, she may want to stay up there until she is absolutely sure that predator is gone. But then, she might just be too scared to come back down. She may not even know that the scary animal has moved on.

Cats Can Get Injured in Trees

Hopefully, if the kitty is still stuck in the tree, she’s just being stubborn. But, unfortunately, cats can get hurt in trees. They may get stuck on a branch or even impaled during the thrill of a chase. They may become fatigued. For this reason, you don’t want to wait too long to rescue your kitty if she is hurt or stuck in the tree.

Kittens Can Easily Get Stuck in Trees

Kittens are a special case. They don’t have the strength or the knowledge to get down from a tree. However, most kittens also don’t have the strength to climb too high. So you’ll likely be able to get them down pretty easily.

How to Get Your Cat Down From a Tree

You may be able to call your cat down from the tree or entice her with treats and toys. However, if she is scared or hurt, this probably won’t work at all. Also, if your cat feels she can’t jump down safely, she might not be able to get down on her own.

If your cat won’t come down, and you feel it is safe to do so, you may be able to get your kitty down on your own. Of course, you’ll want to take every safety precaution so that you don’t end up injured, too. Don’t risk your own safety.

If You Use a Ladder to Get to Your Cat in the Tree

If you can safely attempt to reach your cat with a ladder, remember that they will be scared. A scared cat tends to cling on tightly – and with its razor-sharp little claws. So be very careful if you try to carry your cat down from the tree because they might dig into your skin out of fright. You might want to try to put your cat into a duffel bag or backpack for the descent down the ladder to protect you and your cat from getting hurt.

Use a Carrier or Box to Get Your Cat Down from the Tree

A trick from says you can raise a carrier or cardboard box up to your kitty using a rope. Toss a rope overtop of the closest tree branch. Tie a carrier or box to the other side, and use the rope to pull the box up to your cat. Hopefully, they’ll climb in, and you can gently lower the cat back down.

Sometimes, though, it isn’t safe to get your cat yourself, or you just don’t have the means. Then, you’ll need to call for help.

Who to Call ?

Cardboard Cat Homes states that first responders aren’t going to help you get your cat down from a tree unless there is a significant danger to humans. They simply need to save their resources for human emergencies. But even if your local fire department can’t help get your kitty down from the tree, there is other help available!

1. Try calling an animal rescue. Animal rescues focus on rescuing animals, and even if they don’t have the capability to do the rescue themselves, they’ll probably know who to call or be able to tell you the safest way to do it yourself.

2. Try calling a local arborist. It makes sense that an arborist has all of the necessary equipment to safely bring your kitty down from the tree when she can’t get down on her own. In fact, you can visit Cat in a Tree Emergency Rescue for arborists that will help you rescue your kitty.

3. The electric company. The electric company probably can’t help if your cat is stuck in a tree, but if your cat is stuck on an electric pole and might cause a dangerous situation for others, they may be able to help.

How Long Should You Leave Your Cat in a Tree before Calling for Help

If your cat appears injured, don’t wait to get help. If bad weather is coming, if it is getting dark, or if there is the possibility of predators injuring your cat, don’t wait to get help you’re your cat is crying or acts distressed, you’ll want to act quickly. And although there are stories of cats being rescued after two weeks in a tree, you really don’t want to wait that long. The longer your cat is in the tree, the worse the outcome may end up being.

If your kitty can’t come down on her own after a couple of hours, you’ll want to start looking for a real solution. A cat can become weak or tired after hanging onto the tree, and the longer she goes without food and water, the greater the risk of falling and serious injury becomes.