This is a story that I hesitate to share only because I can see lots and lots of JUDGEMENT. Not just judgement of me personally, but of all those involved. I urge you to keep criticism to yourself, as all parties involved were attempting to help. Yet, if you know our family, you know that we live a life that is often “stranger than fiction.”
Keep in mind, this story has a happy ending.
One of our cats climbed a tree last week. Not just a little bit, but a lot. He climbed 40 feet up. My son heard him meowing for help after being gone for 24 hours over night. It’s likely climbing the tree was the escape from a coyote looking for dinner.
In case you are wondering, we do NOT own a ladder that goes that high…and they don’t make them actually. Because of safety and things….check this out here.
After a few hours of coaxing with cat calls, kissy noises and food…he climbed….HIGHER!!! Now he is close to 50 feet up a cottonwood tree.
It was 6:30 pm and it was going to start to get dark soon.
At this point….I am sure you are thinking one of two things:
“He’s a cat. He climbed up. He will climb down when he gets hungry enough. Leave him alone.”
“Call the fire department. They help in the movies.”
Well, I did call the fire department because I wanted to do my due diligence as a mother. You know, so when the cat died, the kids wouldn’t blame me for not trying hard enough. They told me on the phone, “Ma’am tell your kids we don’t save cats from trees but we don’t find cat skeletons in trees either.”
Yeah…because they either come down on their own or fall to their death I thought.
Ok. We wait and hope he makes it down.
Now, meanwhile, my neighbor decided the cat climbing higher was a bad sign and decided to drive directly to our nearest fire station. He was embarrassed, but he knew our cat history and wanted to help.
The fire department showed up. Of course, the ladder wouldn’t reach and it was a tricky place to get to on a dirt road and a creek nearby. So our other option was to use their other tool….WATER.
You can imagine how this went. It was a cluster of sorts. In the end, the cat climbed HIGHER yet before he finally lost his footing and decided to jump into the neighboring pine tree. It wasn’t pretty. He hit every branch on the way down, like a cartoon. I guess it slowed his fall enough that he was able to land on his feet, jump the creek and run away soaking wet as the sun went down.
At that point, I was sure he would never return because he was SCARED and SCARRED by our attempts to help. We all searched until it got dark…nothing.
All night I worried. Did we do the right thing? Was an intervention even necessary? Did we make it worse or better? Would it have been better to wait it out one more night and call an arborist the next day?
6AM. Just before the kids woke up. MEOW at our bedroom door. Well HOLY MOLY! He was dry, alive and purring his heart out.
Moments before that 6AM return, I lay awake thinking about what was the message here. I know, not everything happens for a reason, but it kind of always does for our family. I find peace in rectifying the meaning so I don’t get overburden with life stress when things like this happen, so bear with me.
This is what I was thinking just before 6 AM.
We all have the ABILITY to save ourselves but the question is WILL we even try.
I was thinking about Sephen Covey,
“Fast is slow, slow is fast”
We may have rushed the process in order to get the cat down the tree, when if we had patience, he likely would have tried to come down. I do believe he had the ability to come down even though his claws are designed to climb up and not down. I was mostly worried that he was so scared he couldn’t make the choice to even TRY. Maybe if I learned to speak cat better then he would understand me next time. ;)
I watch patients/clients decide they won’t try some of the lifestyle changes I suggest because they don’t see the connection to their future health or current health. Sometimes, they don’t believe enough in themselves because it’s too hard to cause a conflict with their partner or family. And sometimes, they simply do not want to for whatever personal reasons I don’t know about.
Yet, that darn cat, well I think he reminded me that every person has the ABILITY to achieve health. Whether or not they WILL try, is entirely up to them, not me.
The other thing I thought was:
Sometimes things have to get WORSE, much worse, before you are forced into ACTION.
It has to get worse before it can get better. That cat had to climb higher onto the shaky branches before he even considered jumping. Of course, he didn’t jump in our direction with the tarp out to catch him, but he jumped to the pine tree.
This reminds me of when I educate more, some folks go in the opposite direction. Sometimes they resist the recommendations so much so that they eat worse rather than better. Sometimes patients don’t want to address their current pain because it’s not “that bad.” Sometimes people need to get really sick or so limited in pain before they seek help. Sometimes, the natural diet recommendation is the cure but it is so rough that they quit too soon before getting all the information. Ideally, they would persevere and actually CHANGE their life for the better despite the pain involved in the process. Sometimes the natural treatment is rough and even brings on your symptoms worse, yet requires patience to tolerate it, but it in the end is worth it. You know, like the mild fever and aches indicating you are fighting a virus which requires rest and patience over medication.
That cat was lucky. If we are honest, there was a lot of luck involved that night. We ALL took a LEAP of FAITH.
My hope in my practice of holistic health and even physical therapy is that I can inspire you to turn around and save yourself BEFORE I have to call the fire department. Yet, if you really want to wait and take the chance with your health, you will still be OK, it just might be more painful.
Did the end justify the means?
Maybe yes, maybe no.
All is well that ends well right? A cat with a sore paw is better than a dead cat. Sometimes patience is the hard thing to do, but sometimes action is the right thing to do.
I am lucky to have a husband who would be willing to patiently wait for me to self-correct, but also willing to intervene, even if painful, to force me into action. As I would for him.
Really, I hope the darn cat stays inside at night from now on….please. Yet, I know he won’t.
“The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing.” -Socrates
Remove. Replace. Restore.
Remove the idea you can help everyone.
Replace with patience or with action.
Restore health…. Even when it hurts.
Eat Well. Move Well. Sleep Well (not in trees please). Soar On.
Anyone know how to speak cat? Please teach me.
Dr Carolyn Dolan DPT, Cert MDT, MSHN
Where physical therapy, nutrition and lifestyle meet, because how you live your life determines whether or not you soar. Inspiring action with information so you can reduce pain, optimize healing and improve function naturally during recovery from injury, surgery or painful condition. This is a website for the open-minded; obstinate need not apply.