Cat Trapped in Tree for 18 Days Finally Sets Paw on Solid Ground

Nearly three weeks after she scaled a 60-foot tree, tabby cat Sparkles has returned to terra firma, much to the relief of her owner, Beverly McIntosh. She'll be an inside cat for the foreseeable future.

"I was really scared," McIntosh told KAIT 8. "I thought she was dead."

On March 13, Sparkles climbed the tree, where she would remain for the next 18 days. Despite McIntosh's repeated attempts to coax her down with a can of food, she wouldn't budge.

"Everyone came up and got on that ladder to get her and she just would run farther and farther away," McIntosh said.

Desperate, McIntosh contacted several local organizations for help, but, she said, they told her that if she kept putting food out, Sparkles would come down on her own eventually.

However, the cat didn't have an indefinite amount of time left. Without food, she was rapidly losing weight. One day, McIntosh received a frightening phone call from a friend, who reported that she no longer heard Sparkles crying from the tree and thought it likely that she was dead.

"She called and said she thought, you know, she finally had passed away," McIntosh said.

Thankfully, Sparkles began meowing again, but the false alarm spurred McIntosh to call local animal rescue ARC Angels 4 Animals in the hopes that the organization would be able to save her pet.

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"When we got the call, Sparkles had been in the tree two weeks going on three," Angie Heringer, the founder of ARC Angels 4 Animals, said.

But the elements foiled the rescue effort, costing Heringer and her team precious time. Someone with a utility truck came by the site but said that the earth was too soft for driving. Someone else from out of town came by and began climbing the tree, but was forced to call it a day after the conditions became too dangerous.

Finally, Heringer contacted Williams Tree Service. Owner Clint Williams came right over, rappelled up the tree, snatched Sparkles from her perch on a perilously skinny limb, rappelled down, and returned her to Beverly within the span of ten minutes, according to an ARC Angels 4 Animals Facebook post.

It was none too soon. By that point, Sparkles, who had endured onslaughts of rain and hail during her time in the tree, was near death from exposure, starvation, or a combination of the two. Photos of the reunion rescue depict Williams holding Sparkles by the scruff of her neck as an overjoyed McIntosh reaches up to swaddle Sparkles in a towel.

Now back with McIntosh and the rest of her family, Sparkles seems to be recovering nicely.

tabby cat
Sparkles the tabby cat survived 18 days stuck in a tree. Tim Graham/Getty Images