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Jessi-Cat at Twitter

8 Heroic Cats

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Jessi-Cat at Twitter

These cats went above and beyond the call of duty to help others in need.

1. Tara

Four-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo was playing in front of his home when a neighbor’s dog came up and bit him and pulled him off his bike. The first to come to his rescue was the family cat, Tara, who body-slammed the dog, followed closely by Erica Triantafilo. Tara is one brave cat! Erica tried to chase the dog off, and she was bitten, too.

Jeremy was taken to a hospital where he received ten stitches. The original video, which was re-edited from several security cameras, was viewed 5 million times on YouTube in less than two days, before it was replaced with a version that does not show Jeremy’s raw wounds. The family appeared on The Today Show this morning.

The heroics displayed by Tara, a stray adopted by the family six years ago, surprised everyone.

“Every once in a while she puts our dog back into her place, but for the most part, she’s just the most mellow cat you’ve ever met,” Erica Triantafilo said. “All our boys love her and pick on her occasionally. She just loves them right back anyway.”

2. Pudding

Photograph from the Door County Humane Society.

In 2014, Amy Jung went down to the Door County (Wisconsin) Humane Society shelter to play with the cats. Jung was not planning to adopt one, but went home with two. Pudding, a 21-pound cat, stood out and seem drawn to Jung. She took him and another cat named Wimsy home with her. Later that night, Jung suffered a diabetic seizure in her sleep. Pudding jumped up on her and woke her up enough to call out to her son Ethan, but he was asleep. So Pudding ran to Ethan’s room and jumped on him to wake him up. Ethan was able to get his mother medical attention, but she might have sunk into a coma without intervention. Since the incident, Jung has registered Pudding as a therapy animal.

3. Rusty

Claire Nelson of Reading, Pennsylvania, adopted Rusty as an adult cat from the Humane Society. Two years later, in June of 2011, Nelson wanted to lay down because she wasn’t feeling well, but Rusty kept bothering her, which was out of character for him. The 66-year-old former nurse took inventory and decided to visit her doctor’s office, but Nelson began feeling much worse at the bus stop and called 911. Doctors at the hospital found that she had suffered a heart attack! Surgery followed and Nelson had two stents implanted. When she returned home, Rusty was back to his normal self, but would not leave her side. Nelson credits him with saving her life.

4. Pwditat

As Terfel, a dog who lives in Wales, aged, his eyes became blurred by cataracts. Eventually he became completely blind. Terfel's owner, Judy Godfrey-Brown, said he had a hard time adjusting; he walked into walls and became afraid to move around the house. When Godfrey-Brown invited a stray cat into her home, it was like the answer to a prayer. The new cat, named Pwditat (this is in Wales, remember) immediately became a guide for Terfel. The cat uses her paws to guide Terfel around the house and into the garden for some fresh air. The two animals became inseparable, and even sleep together. Watch Pwditat in action in a video

5. Jessi-Cat

Photograph from Jessi-Cat at Twitter.

Lorcan Dillon is affected by Selective Mutism, which makes it difficult for him to express himself. The condition is often confused with autism. But Lorcan received the most valuable therapy from his pet cat, Jessi-cat. The cat accepts Lorcan unconditionally and gives him a patient ear. For her loyalty and devotion, Jessi-Cat was named the UK’s National Cat of the Year 2012. Lorcan’s mother, Jayne Dillon, said,

“He does not express his emotions, he would not say 'I love you Mummy', he just doesn't do it. But with the cat he can cuddle her, he can stroke her, he can talk to her and he can say 'I love you Jessi-Cat.'

“She is without a doubt the best friend a boy could have and has had a huge positive impact on his life. We’ve had her for a couple of years and in the last year alone he seems to be making excellent progress at school. In the past two weeks he’s started communicating with people he doesn’t know very well and even reads to one of the teachers now – something he’s never done before.”

Jessi-Cat’s story has since been published as a book.

6. Scarlett

In 1996, a fire broke out in a suspected crack house in Brooklyn. A cat later named Scarlett was observed carrying her kittens out of the building one by one. She was severely burned, and blinded by blisters. She touched each kitten with her nose to make sure they were all safe from the fire, then collapsed. Firefighter David Giannelli took the cat and kittens to the North Shore Animal League clinic. The League received 7000 applications to adopt Scarlett and her kittens! Three families were selected, and Scarlett made a full recovery, albeit with damaged eyelids and ears. The hero cat was taken by Karen Wellen, who cared for her until her death 11 years later. Scarlett's story was made into a book, Scarlett Saves her Family, and a children's book, The Bravest Cat. The North Shore Animal League created an honor in her name, the Scarlett Award, for animal heroism.

7. Simon

Simon was born in 1947 in Hong Kong. As a half-grown cat, he was taken aboard the HMS Amethyst to control rats. In 1949, the ship was attacked on the Yangtze River in China by communists. Simon was wounded, but not found for days. The injured sailors had been evacuated, so the ship's doctor nursed Simon's facial burns and shrapnel wounds. As Simon recovered he resumed rat catching, but also added the duty of visiting sick and wounded sailors.

Upon his return to Hong Kong, Simon was presented with a campaign ribbon and news that he would receive a Dicken Medal, an award for animal gallantry. When the Amethyst reached England, Simon had to go into quarantine. He developed an infection and died just before his planned formal medal ceremony. The veterinarian believed the young cat would have recovered if his war wounds hadn't weakened him. Simon was buried in a specially-made casket with full naval honors. See more pictures of Simon. 

8. Faith

A stray cat wandered into St Augustine's and St. Faith's Church in London in 1936. She was named Faith and adopted by the rector and parishioners. She would sit at the pulpit while Father Henry Ross preached. In 1940, Faith gave birth to a single kitten named Panda. On September 6, Faith demanded access to the church basement. When a door was opened for her, she carried her kitten down to the dark cellar. Father Ross retrieved the kitten twice, but Faith carried him back downstairs—twice. She even missed a church service, which was unusual.

The next day, air raids began in the Battle of London, and by September 9, 400 people had been killed and eight churches were destroyed by bombs. Father Ross returned to the church to find it ruined. He called for Faith and heard faint meowing in return. He retrieved both Faith and Panda from the rubble just before the roof collapsed. Faith was nominated for a Dickin Medal, for which she was not eligible as a civilian, but she was awarded a special medal for bravery anyway. Faith was presented with the medal in a special ceremony in 1945 attended by the Archbishop of Canterbury. When Faith died peacefully at the age of 14, the church was again packed for her funeral.

There are many other hero cats that have saved people from gas leaks, house fires, and medical emergencies

See also: 7 Heroic Dogs

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Big Questions
Should You Keep Your Pets Indoors During the Solar Eclipse?
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By now, you probably know what you’ll be doing on August 21, when a total solar eclipse makes its way across the continental United States. You’ve had your safety glasses ready since January (and have confirmed that they’ll actually protect your retinas), you’ve picked out the perfect vantage point in your area for the best view, and you’ve memorized Nikon’s tips for how to take pictures of this rare celestial phenomenon. Still, it feels like you’re forgetting something … and it’s probably the thing that's been right under your nose, and sitting on your lap, the whole time: your pets.

Even if you’ve never witnessed a solar eclipse, you undoubtedly know that you’re never supposed to look directly at the sun during one. But what about your four-legged family members? Shouldn’t Fido be fitted with a pair of eclipse glasses before he heads out for his daily walk? Could Princess Kitty be in danger of having her peepers singed if she’s lounging on her favorite windowsill? While, like humans, looking directly at the sun during a solar eclipse does pose the potential of doing harm to a pet’s eyes, it’s unlikely that the thought would even occur to the little ball of fluff.

“It’s no different than any other day,” Angela Speck, co-chair of the AAS National Solar Eclipse Task Force, explained during a NASA briefing in June. “On a normal day, your pets don’t try to look at the sun and therefore don’t damage their eyes, so on this day they’re not going to do it either. It is not a concern, letting them outside. All that’s happened is we’ve blocked out the sun, it’s not more dangerous. So I think that people who have pets want to think about that. I’m not going to worry about my cat.”

Dr. Jessica Vogelsang, a veterinarian, author, and founder of pawcurious, echoed Speck’s statement, but allowed that there’s no such thing as being too cautious. “It’s hard for me to criticize such a well-meaning warning, because there’s really no harm in following the advice to keep pets inside during the eclipse,” Vogelsang told Snopes. “It’s better to be too cautious than not cautious enough. But in the interest of offering a realistic risk assessment, the likelihood of a pet ruining their eyes the same way a human would during an eclipse is much lower—not because the damage would be any less were they to stare at the sun, but because, from a behavior standpoint, dogs and cats just don’t have any interest in doing so. We tend to extrapolate a lot of things from people to pets that just doesn’t bear out, and this is one of them.

“I’ve seen lots of warnings from the astronomy community and the human medical community about the theoretical dangers of pets and eclipses, but I’m not sure if any of them really know animal behavior all that well," Vogelsang continued. "It’s not like there’s a big outcry from the wildlife community to go chase down coyotes and hawks and bears and give them goggles either. While we in the veterinary community absolutely appreciate people being concerned about their pets’ wellbeing, this is a non-issue for us.”

The bigger issue, according to several experts, would be with pets who are already sensitive to Mother Nature. "If you have the sort of pet that's normally sensitive to shifts in the weather, they might be disturbed by just the whole vibe because the temperature will drop and the sky will get dark,” Melanie Monteiro, a pet safety expert and author of The Safe-Dog Handbook: A Complete Guide to Protecting Your Pooch, Indoors and Out, told TODAY.

“If [your pets] have learned some association with it getting darker, they will show that behavior or at a minimum they get confused because the timeframe does not correspond,” Dr. Carlo Siracusa of Penn Vet Hospital told CBS Philly. “You might put the blinds down, but not exactly when the dark is coming but when it is still light.” 

While Monteiro again reasserts that, "Dogs and cats don't normally look up into the sun, so you don't need to get any special eye protection for your pets,” she says that it’s never a bad idea to take some extra precautions. So if you’re headed out to an eclipse viewing party, why not do your pets a favor and leave them at home. They won’t even know what they’re missing.

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Animals
Plagued with Rodents, Members of the UK Parliament Demand a Cat
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Members of the United Kingdom’s Parliament want a cat, but not just for office cuddles: As The Telegraph reports, the Palace of Westminster—the meeting place of Parliament’s two houses, the House of Commons and the House of Lords—is overrun with vermin, and officials have had enough. They think an in-house feline would keep the rodents at bay and defray skyrocketing pest control costs.

Taxpayers in the UK recently had to bear the brunt of a $167,000 pest control bill after palace maintenance projects and office renovations disturbed mice and moths from their slumber. The bill—which was nearly one-third higher than the previous year’s—covered the cost of a full-time pest control technician and 1700 bait stations. That said, some Members of Parliament (MPs) think their problem could be solved the old-fashioned way: by deploying a talented mouser.

MP Penny Mordaunt tried taking matters into her own hands by bringing four cats—including her own pet kitty, Titania—to work. (“A great believer in credible deterrence, I’m applying the principle to the lower ministerial corridor mouse problem,” she tweeted.) This solution didn’t last long, however, as health and safety officials banned the cats from Parliament.

While cats aren’t allowed in Parliament, other government offices reportedly have in-house felines. And now, MPs—who are sick of mice getting into their food, running across desks, and scurrying around in the tearoom—are petitioning for the same luxury.

"This is so UNFAIR,” MP Stella Creasy said recently, according to The Telegraph. “When does Parliament get its own cats? We’ve got loads of mice (and some rats!) after all!" Plus, Creasy points out, a cat in Parliament is “YouTube gold in waiting!"

Animal charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home wants to help, and says it’s been trying to convince Parliament to adopt a cat since 2014. "Battersea has over 130 years [experience] in re-homing rescue cats, and was the first choice for Downing Street, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Cabinet Office when they sought our mousers to help with their own rogue rodents,” charity head Lindsey Quinlan said in a statement quoted by The Telegraph. “We'd be more than happy to help the Houses of Parliament recruit their own chief mousers to eliminate their pest problem and restore order in the historic corridors of power."

As of now, only assistance and security dogs are allowed on palace premises—but considering that MPs spotted 217 mice alone in the first six months of 2017, top brass may have to reconsider their rules and give elected officials purr-mission to get their own feline office companions.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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