By Julia Williams
A few weeks ago, I watched the Hero Dog Awards on television. It was fun to see some of the dogs I know through Facebook get honored for their heroic acts. It was also great to learn about other hero dogs I wasn’t aware of. This got me thinking – what about heroic felines? Why isn’t there a Hero Cat Awards show? Now, I know some of you probably think the term Hero Cat is an oxymoron. In truth, cats generally aren’t the first species that comes to mind when we think of pets that perform heroic deeds, save lives or put themselves in danger to help someone. Most cats have a “Me First” mentality, and some even have a “Me Only” mindset…or at least it seems that way when they want something. Ha! I did a little digging, however, and discovered a few cats that deserve to be lauded for their heroism.
This house cat from North Carolina is now known as the “Hero Cat of Maggie Valley” and was featured on both the Animal Planet network and TLC’s Must Love Cats show. Leroy is credited with helping his owner, Bryan Hickman, save the lives of several neighbors from a devastating fire. Leroy’s incessant loud meowing woke Bryan up early one morning. Bryan went downstairs to let the cat out the front door, but Leroy ran to the back door instead and pawed at it. When Bryan opened the door he saw huge flames billowing from the townhouse next door, and ran to awaken the occupants. The building was destroyed, but no one was injured thanks to Leroy!
The book Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort tells the story of a cat named KittyBaby who lived with Nancy Strand in a cabin in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. After bears started passing through her neighborhood, KittyBaby took on the role of protector, said Nancy. “One night as I prepared to go outside, KittyBaby firmly pushed me away from the door. He pressed hard against my leg, redirecting me to another area. The next morning I discovered that a marauding bear had ransacked our garbage can. On numerous other occasions, when KittyBaby sensed a bear nearby, he would stand between me and the cat flap on the door and growl as if he were a big dog!”
A Montana cat named Schnautzie received the Purple Paw award from the Great Falls Animal Foundation for saving her owner’s life from a gas leak. Schnautzie’s owner, Trudy Guy, woke up to find the feline on her chest, tapping her nose. Guy heard a strange sound and discovered that a gas pipe outside the bathroom had broken above the shut-off valve. Later, firefighters told her the house could have blown up at any minute.
A woman in Quebec was out working in her garden when she suddenly came upon a venomous snake just inches away from her. The snake was poised to strike when her cat, Sosa, interceded and attacked the snake. The woman escaped injury but Sosa was bitten on the paw. Fortunately, the cat was rushed to the vet, treated for the bite, and survived.
New Yorker Carl Kryszak was asleep in his living room chair when his cat Buddy jumped on his lap and woke him up. The house was on fire and the room was already filled with smoke. Buddy and Carl escaped without injury.
In 2008, a fire destroyed 120 units of an apartment complex in Norwich Connecticut. The night of the fire, Teddy Morris said he let his cat Jeter out about 10 p.m. Several hours later, Jeter began loudly banging on the glass patio door of the first floor apartment. “He was banging just like a person,” Morris said. Jeter was also meowing frantically, and when Morris opened the blinds he saw the fire coming across the grass towards his porch. Jeter ran off, but was rescued from a tree by firefighters a short time later.
No article about Hero Cats would be complete without mentioning Scarlett. Though her story took place many years ago, it’s one I’ve never forgotten and probably never will. This heroic cat displayed great courage by going into a burning building again and again to rescue all five of her kittens, getting severely burned in the process. Scarlett and four of her kittens survived and were eventually adopted. Scarlett passed away in 2008, but her bravery was immortalized in a beautiful book titled Scarlett Saves Her Family.
I hope you enjoyed this brief look at some truly memorable felines. If you know of any other Hero Cats who deserve to be honored, please share their story in the comments!
Read more articles by Julia Williams
The personal opinions and/or use of trade, corporate or brand names, is for information and convenience only. Such use does not constitute an endorsement by CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods of any product or service. Opinions are those of the individual authors and not necessarily of CANIDAE® All Natural Pet Foods.