Cat Stuck in a Tree? Don’t Panic—Here's Who to Call

D.P. Taylor
Written by D.P. Taylor
Updated March 25, 2022
Girl cuddling with her cat in the backyard
Photo: Edwin Tan / E+ / Getty Images

Your friendly neighborhood arborist (not a firefighter!) will help a kitty in need

Get quotes from up to 3 pros!
Enter a zip below and get matched to top-rated pros near you.

When most people think of a cat stuck in a tree, they typically picture a firefighter as the one making the rescue. But that's not actually the case.

A cat stuck in a tree is not considered an emergency, so don't reach for the phone to dial 911 if it happens to you. Instead, the person you should be contacting is a local arborist. Here’s what you need to know.

Benefits of Hiring an Arborist to Rescue Your Cat From a Tree

While your first inclination after firefighter may be to contact animal control, an arborist is actually a better option because of their experience climbing trees. Animal control is not necessarily a bad option, but animal control professionals don't spend as much time in trees as arborists do, and therefore it may be less safe for them to attempt the climb. Also, arborists will already have the proper climbing equipment, whereas animal control may not.

Can I Rescue My Cat Myself?

While you may be tempted to just climb up that tree and help kitty yourself, there are a few good reasons why you shouldn’t.

For one thing, climbing trees is dangerous. If you’re not experienced or don’t have the right equipment, you could fall and seriously injure yourself.

You’re also not just putting yourself at risk, but your cat, too. Managing a scared kitty while grappling with tree branches is not as easy as it sounds. 

Instead, it’s best to let a professional who’s comfortable being in trees take care of this task.

Can I Hire a Handyperson to Rescue a Cat From a Tree?

Young arborist wearing safety wear is climbing a tree
Photo: Peter Muller / Image Source / Getty Images

A handyperson is not a terrible option and they’ll usually have useful equipment, like a ladder, on hand. However, they are not experienced with climbing trees and therefore it’s best to either hire an arborist.

How Does an Arborist Rescue a Cat? 

Arborists use a harness system to scale the tree, using sturdy branches as the anchor. Once the arborist reaches the scared cat and successfully manages to pick it up, they will gently work their way down the tree, cat in tow.

How to Find an Arborist

Finding an arborist may be a bit trickier than other contractors like HVAC professionals or handymen because it's less likely your neighbors have one they can recommend. Still, you might try calling around to see if anyone has used one before.

If you don't know of anyone who can recommend an arborist, try contacting an arborist near you to see if they can rescue your cat.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.