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Will a Cat Eventually Come Down From a Tree? Expert Tips to Help Them

Cats are extremely athletic animals and exceptional climbers. While climbing is a great way for a cat to burn excess energy and get some exercise and enrichment, not all cats are great at coming back down from the places they climb.

We’ve all heard anecdotes about firefighters having to be called to get cats down out of trees. Will a cat come down if you leave it long enough, though? With very few exceptions, cats will eventually come down from a tree.

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Can Cats Get Themselves Down From Trees?

With very few exceptions, cats will get themselves down from trees. As some people like to put it, you don’t see cat skeletons in trees. That isn’t to say that your cat can’t get stuck in a tree, though. Some cats may climb a tree in a pinch to get out of an unsafe situation without realizing they won’t be able to get back down. There’s also the possibility that you just have a scaredy cat that is afraid to try.

The primary reason that your cat may struggle to come down from a tree is how difficult it can be to climb down without risking injury. Cats have curved claws that make climbing up relatively easy, but trying to climb down is more difficult because the direction of the claws is reversed. For this reason, you’re likely to see a cat coming down from a tree backward.

a long haired cat on a tree
Image Credit: Fazlyeva Kamilla, Shutterstock

How to Help Your Cat Get Down

There’s a belief that putting down your cat’s favorite food will help coax them down, which is true. However, the issue with food is that it can attract other animals. Dogs, raccoons, foxes, and even other cats may discourage your cat from coming down.

If you’re going to use food to lure your cat down, don’t leave the food unattended. Things that are unlikely to attract other animals but that may appeal to your cat include articles of your clothing, a favorite bed or pillow, and a carrier that your cat is accustomed to.

You may try sitting near the base of the tree and trying to coax your cat down. If your cat isn’t responsive to this after a little while, you may try sitting quietly nearby. Your presence alone may soothe your cat enough to encourage them to come down. If the cat isn’t familiar or comfortable with you, it may be better to sit quietly where you are close enough to keep an eye on things but far enough away that your presence won’t scare the cat.

Don’t expect the fire department to come retrieve your cat from a tree. While some fire departments may do this on occasion, it’s extremely unusual. In general, they aren’t able to put resources towards getting cats out of trees. In some areas, you may be able to find a rescue organization with the resources to help you get a cat down. There are even some companies that will help you get your cat down from a tree.

How Long Can My Cat Stay in a Tree?

How long your cat can stay in a tree is dependent on factors like your cat’s age and health status, as well as the weather conditions and whether your cat is primarily indoor or outdoor. If the weather is too hot or too cold for you to comfortably be outside, then the temperature is too extreme for you to leave your cat in the tree through the hottest or coldest part of the day.

Without food and water, cats can quickly enter the realm of medical complications. Dehydration can take effect in as little as a day or two, while cats will begin to enter hepatic lipidosis within just a couple of days without eating.

Dehydration and hepatic lipidosis can both be deadly if left untreated. While some cats have been known to stay in a tree for up to 2 weeks, this is extremely dangerous for your cat and should not be intentionally allowed.

tuxedo cat on tree
Image Credit: bookwurmee, Pixabay

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In Conclusion

With very few exceptions, cats will eventually come down from a tree. They may need a little bit of encouragement to come down, but it’s important to not use methods that may attract other animals that will discourage your cat from coming down. Cats should not be allowed to stay in a tree during extreme weather, nor should they stay for more than a day or so since this can lead to dehydration and hepatic lipidosis, both of which can be deadly.

If your cat is regularly getting stuck in trees, you should consider implementing interventions to prevent this from occurring. Ideally, your cat should be kept indoors and only allowed outside on a leash and harness. Having your cat spayed or neutered will decrease wandering behaviors, and a microchip will increase the chances of your cat getting back home to you if they get stuck in a tree in someone else’s yard.

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Featured Image Credit: minka2507, Pixabay