Cats Climbing Trees While Walking On a Harness and Leash
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As humans, we tend to gasp as our kitties scale up a tree, as it looks rather scary. But we have no need to worry, cats’ bodies are made for climbing. They have strong backs and hind legs enabling to leap several times their own length. This enables them leap up a tree trunk. They also have a flexibility that not only makes yogis jealous, but also provides our fur babies with amazing coordination and balance – two skills needed for climbing & perching in trees.
With this in mind, it is not surprising that many Catexplorers enjoy climbing trees. But there are several practicalities of a cat climbing a tree while they are exploring while wearing a harness and leash, like do you keep the leash on? Does the leash get tangled in the tree? What do you do if your kitty gets stuck in a tree?
How Cats Climb Trees While Walking on a Harness and Leash
Some kitties’ owners unleash them while they climb trees, mainly as there is a valid concern that their leash may get tangled in branches.
Typically these cats are only unleashed in areas that their owners know well and know they are safe areas.
These kitties may also be wearing a tracker on their collar, so that they can easily be found if lost.
Many of these kitties have great recall abilities – that is they come when they are called, which is something you can train your cat to do. Some kitties are emotionally attached to their humans, so that when their owners walk away from them, they follow.
Other cats’ owners keep their leash on while they are climbing trees.
This helps them be in control of how high their cat might go. As cats are known to get stuck in trees, many owners only let them get to heights where they can climb up and rescue them. Keeping them leashed also helps you stop them from hunting animals.
Another great idea was only to allow your cat to climb to heights where the leash still reaches the ground. This helps ensure that in an emergency, your cat won’t get hanged by their leash if it gets stuck.
Given that many owners have had to climb up a tree to bring their cat down, when exploring they make sure that they wear appropriate clothing and shoes for climbing trees.
There are situations where leashes have been tangled in trees, and owners have had to climb up to untangle the leashes.
What to Do if Your Cat Gets Stuck in a Tree
It is a common understanding that cats love going up the tree, but struggle to come down.
Have you noticed that your cat’s claws grow inward? This makes it difficult for them to grip the tree trunk as they climb down headfirst. Because of this, most kitties shimmy their way down backwards.
While “ Have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree? The cat will come down one way or another!” is a common saying and is unfortunately a myth. Some cats don’t always know how to come down a tree, or they are scared or worse, hurt.
You could wait for your cat to come down the tree. However, over an extended period of time, this increases the risk that you cat becomes dehydrated or suffers from starvation or exposure to the elements – all of which you want to avoid.
Because of this, if your cat gets stuck in a tree, we recommend that you look into options to bring them down, rather than waiting for an extended period of time.
Coax Them Down
The ideal way to get your cat down off a tree is to coax them down. Perhaps you can use their favourite food or treats to encourage them down. Another option is to use a branch or board to provide them with an alternate safe way for them to come down.
Climb Up Yourself
Another option is to climb up the tree yourself. If you are doing this make sure that your safety is your main concern. We love our cats and want to help them, but we’re no use to them if we’re injured and stuck.
Make sure you are wearing appropriate gear depending on the height of the tree.
Despite what we think, climbing up a ladder is not the safest option, especially if the cat is very high up.
Our instinct may be to climb up and bring our cat down by holding them by the scruff of the neck. However, given that your cat may be frightened, they may attack you (even if you have a very close bond). Instead, you can coax them into their carrier/backpack and use this to bring them down.
Call in the Experts
Sometimes, it is not safe for you to climb up a tree and rescue your cat. Perhaps your cat is very scared, or the tree is too high for you to climb.
In these situations we recommend calling in the experts.
Perhaps due to pop culture, the first expert we thinking of calling to bring our cat down from a tree may be the Fire Department. However, in many countries, the Fire Department cannot help bring a cat down from a tree. This is not because they don’t want to, but they do not have permission to do so.
There are a tree climbers who offer their services to bring your cat down from a tree, including:
Canopy Cat Rescues in Western Washington state, USA
Tree Cat Rescue in Alachua County, Florida, USA
AA Emergency Tree Services in Denver, Colorado, USA
Does your cat climb trees while exploring? Or have they been stuck in a tree? We would love to hear all about it!