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!”