Tag Archives: photos

Cats don’t get stuck in trees…

I saw a cat in a tree this morning. On the thick horizontal branch of an old black walnut tree, with the early morning sun rising behind, the cat took a leisurely bath. It could have made an awesome photo, but I did not have a camera with me.

People tend to worry about a cat in a tree. I don’t anymore; a veterinarian once told me not to, that cats don’t get stuck in trees.

Years ago, I worried for over a week about a cat in a tree. After moving to a new house, my cat Buddy climbed up in a tall honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos) and stayed there for 9 days. Buddy was a large, muscular, black cat with strong facial features. He had been known to drag home large rabbits. Apparently our new house smelled of monkeys (the previous owner kept monkeys) and Buddy was intimidated, sniffing around in distress for a few weeks before finally going up the tree.

On the 3rd day, the vet told me not to worry, that the cat was depressed, he would come down. I worried, I sat in the upper windows and talked to him, I cried, I tempted him with fine foods. On the fourth day I learned that the fire company really won’t rescue cats in trees and then I learned that putting a ladder against the tree causes a cat to climb higher. I parked my station wagon under the tree and put all the sofa cushions on the roof of it, but he would not come down.

On the 5th day, the vet told me not to worry, that the cat will get dehydrated, he would come down. On the 6th day it rained, a lot. Finally, on the ninth day, my husband went on the roof with a neighbor for a small repair. The neighbor turned, saw the cat, threw a couple of roofing nails in his direction and yelled “get”; Buddy ran down out of that tree that minute!

Three weeks later he climbed that tree again. This time I called up to him that I didn’t care, he could stay up there forever; he was in the house for dinner that evening.

You don’t often see cats in trees. The vet told me all those years ago, to think about it, cats don’t get stuck in trees, or we would see cat bodies lying about in trees all around us. True. I wish I had been able to get a photo of that rare cat in the tree this morning.


Red Fox Sparrow

This was no National Geographic photo shoot: there I was, on my belly on the pantry counter, camera lens stuck out the open window into the 11°F early morning air, trying to focus on the RED FOX SPARROW just outside. Two of my cats were trying to squeeze their way out of the slightly open window,  while my husband traipsed back and forth in the nearby driveway, crunching noisily on the ice and snow.  I admit, the photo probably shouldn’t be published, but hey, a Red Fox Sparrow, five feet from my kitchen is newsworthy in my opinion.

What a beautifully colored bird. The Red (or Taiga) Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca iliaca) is our eastern subspecies of the Fox Sparrows. “Slate-colored”, “Sooty”, and “Thick-billed”, the other three of the four main subspecies, are all found in specific western areas of the United States. I have seen Fox Sparrows before, but not this closely and I think this one was a perfect specimen. Just look at those lovely cheek patches and thick streaking on breast and flanks! Another interesting thing is the coloring of the beak- all yellow on the bottom, and yellow turning to black on the top of bill. Not a bird commonly seen during breeding season, winter is the time we get to spot them scratching about in the leaves on the ground, searching for food. This little bird was hanging out with several White-throated Sparrows (Zonotrichia albicollis) here in my yard, a fairly northernmost part of it’s winter range. How nicely it blends in with the snowy winter landscape.