After many successful forays into the garden, Freddie suddenly decided that he wanted to start climbing things such as the fence and trees. He found the fence very hard to navigate as he didn’t have the strength to pull himself up the links. Trees on the other hand weren’t too difficult and he enjoyed climbing into the branches so that he could be higher than me when we were in the garden together.

Eventually Freddie decided that the Douglas Fir in the corner of the garden was his Everest. The lowest branch was around twenty feet from the ground and the trunk was too wide for me to put my arms around. Freddie stood at the bottom of the tree and jumped on to the bark and clawed his way up a few feet miaowing to himself, before falling off. He decided that more momentum was required so he began his run-up ten feet from the tree; about two feet from the base he leapt on to the trunk and started to climb again miaowing to himself for encouragement.

The problem was that as he climbed his front paws became further apart, so that by the time he was fifteen feet from the ground his face and tummy were pressed tight against the tree. He couldn’t go any further; he gave a distress miaow and then fell off the tree, landing on his feet of course. Freddie was undeterred and started his next run-up fifteen feet from the base of the tree; he must have reached one foot further up the tree before falling off.

However, Freddie was encouraged by this progress and started his next run-up right by the house; again he leapt at the trunk from two feet away and climbed steadily, but around 17 feet from the ground his face was pressed against the bark and he fell off. I had seen enough and tried to stop him make another attempt, but he dodged me and attacked the tree again, but with the same results.

I stood right by the trunk to stop Freddie making another attempt, but he approached from a different angle and landed on the trunk near my head. I took a hold of him and tried to pull him away from the tree but he dug his claws into the bark and refused to move. I prised his paws away one at a time and took him back into the house with him yowling in my arms. The next time Freddie went into the garden I watched him very closely, but he contented himself with sitting at the base of the tree and practiced jumping onto the trunk. He was happy doing that although who knows what he tried to do when my back was turned.

Extract from the book: Where is Freddie Cat?