Cats have nine lives, according to the adage. That doesn’t mean that any of those lives should be taken for granted. Cats can be curious and end up in some dangerous situations. People can sometimes see cats as invulnerable, but they do need to be rescued from time to time. We may have seen firemen rescue cats from trees, but there are many stories of cats that have miraculously survived more extreme situations. In addition, there are plenty of stories about cats that have rescued humans as well. Cats can often keep a protective eye on their human friends, and there are a number of stories about cats alerting their owners about a fire or rescuing children from dog attacks.
Seeing a cat trapped in a dangerous situation can be a heart-rending sight. One may feel powerless at the inability to do anything to save a cat from a desperate and life-threatening situation. This was the case when Bella of Louisiana became trapped in an automatic garage door. Her head was not visible and she was suspended from the top of the garage door. The neighbors were panicked when they saw this friendly white and gray cat in such an impossible situation. There was no way of knowing whether she had been crushed or not. Retired captain Deputy Mike Scott was on the scene to rescue the cat after others had given up. There were neighbors who proposed solutions in vain. Deputy Scott admitted that he had never seen anything like it and the scene gave him chills. It was a good thing that there were handymen and construction workers on the site because they had the most effective plan to free the cat. They were able to remove the upper frame molding that gave Bella some room to move.
The owner had been away and had no idea that Bella was trapped. The cat was caught in the garage door as the homeowner left and the owner was amazed when he saw Deputy Scott holding the cat. It might have been difficult to believe the story, since miraculously, Bella had no injuries at all. This wasn’t long after Louisiana had been devastated by flooding, and people were still reeling from losses in the area. The story about Bella’s unlikely rescue cheered the hearts of people in the neighborhood, and the owner was grateful to have the cat back safe from the terrible ordeal.
Getting caught in a garage door is bad enough, but imagine being a cat stuck in a car engine for hours! This isn’t such an uncommon problem, particularly in winter months when cats are looking for warm places to snuggle. This is yet another reason why it is a good idea to keep cats indoors, although some pets are by nature more inclined to spend some time outside. It is important any time of the year, but particularly in winter, to inspect your vehicle for any signs of your cat. Cats are known to be nimble and can hide in unlikely places. There have even been cases of cats that have been rescued from exhaust pipes, so don’t forget to look there. One of the usual places cats rest is on the top of the wheel. The area is the right size for a cat to crawl in and relax, but the results can be tragic, so make sure you do an inspection before starting your car.
Ayrton, who ironically enough was named after a race car driver, was only 12 weeks old when the pet became caught in an engine in Wolverhampton, U.K. Wayne Rutter pulled up his car after he drove to work, but was surprised and shocked to hear a “meow” from his car. At first, Rutter had no idea where the sound was coming from and he thought that maybe he was just hearing things. It was definitely the cry of a cat that was in distress, but he looked around, not believing that the sound was coming from his own vehicle. When Rutter lifted the hood, he saw the cat with fear in his eyes. Rutter said he wasn’t sure when the cat entered his car. The weather had been inclement the night before and it is possible that Ayrton was looking for a warm, dry place to rest only to discover that he was in danger.
The cat was frightened not just of the car but of Rutter. He tried to rescue the small tabby kitten but the kitten kept struggling and trying to flee. The cat ended up running from Rutter’s engine into the engine of a neighboring vehicle. Rutter despaired of rescuing the kitten himself and called the RSPCA. Two workers from the RSPCA arrived on the site and managed to get the cat out of the engine. The kitten had some infections and he was treated at an animal shelter. The cat had no owner but was adopted by a family not long after being rescued.
Many cats who end up in precarious situations have owners to come home to, but others need to be taken to animal shelters. When looking for a home for a cat that has been through a traumatic ordeal or when dealing with your own cat that has experienced a terrifying situation, it is important to keep in mind that the pet may be nervous for some time after the incident. Just as people can experience trauma and phobias after an extreme event, pets also are vulnerable to trauma, and it may take some time for the pet to return to normalcy. Cats that have been through ordeals, particularly those inflicted by humans, may be prone to avoid people and dislike excessive noise or vigorous activity. One of the symptoms of trauma in people and animals is overstimulation. Cats tend to be prone to nervousness anyway, and this tendency is heightened for cats that have been rescued. If cats do not yet have a home, it is probably a good idea to find owners who do not have young children and maintain a calm, quiet environment in the home. If it is your cat that has been through a trauma, try to keep noises and loud music to a minimum and tell your children to avoid startling the cat.
Many people decide to take their pets with them on vacation rather than leave them with a catsitter, but few expect their cats to end up like left luggage. There is a video of a cat that was rescued from a ferry in Sweden by a member of the crew who noticed something strange. The cat had ended up underneath the ferry, and a cat lover and crew member, Stellan Sternberg heard some unusual noises. Since cats are famously averse to water, the meowing sounds seemed surprising at first until Sternberg noticed that a cat was stuck beneath the ferry. The cat had made it all the way to the jet propulsion area just above the surface of the water. Another crew member, Johan Skarkarl, donned a wetsuit and went to retrieve the cat. The feline was floating on a makeshift raft and was escorted to safety without getting wet. It was fortunate that the ferry was operating in the summertime when the waters were placid. In the rough winter water, the cat could easily have been swept out to sea and lost forever. The cat was unharmed and obviously grateful that it was rescued.
Felines are not often associated with water travel in the minds of most people, but the fact is that they have always been prized by sailors. Since the ancient Egyptians and their seafaring trading vessels, felines have been a valuable asset to any boat or ship because they keep away rats. Once rats end up on ship, there is almost no way to get rid of them. Sailors involved in trade or war have usually had a ship cat, and during the Second World War, there were a number of cats who bravely fought rats on board the ship and preserved the crew’s food supply.
One of the world’s most controversial rituals is the Yulin dog and cat meat festival in China. In 2016, 10,000 dogs and cats were slaughtered for the festival, and prior to being killed were kept in cages on the street. The festival goes on for ten days and takes place in the Guangxi Zhuang province of China. This festival is greeted with outrage throughout the world, but locals argue it is a time-honored tradition. The animals are kept in cages and are bludgeoned to death, skinned alive and served as street food. Some of the dogs and cats that are kept in cages prior to being slaughtered are seen wearing collars, which indicates that many may be stolen pets. Some argue it is an ancient tradition, and the fact that it takes place during the summer solstice is based on the custom that dog and cat meat can ward off the summer heat. However, others argue that this is an excuse and the festival is a relatively recent phenomenon. There are no laws in China against killing and eating dogs and cats. The outrage is also palpable in China. A poll showed that 64% of Chinese supported ending the festival for good. There are a number of activist groups from around the world who go to China during the festival and rescue dogs and cats.
Sometimes just one individual can become a kind of poster child for a cause and win over the hearts of people worldwide. Huru was a cat who became emblematic of the inhumanity of the Yulin dog and cat meat festival. There are heart-rending images of Huru attempting to escape the slaughterhouse where she was confined. The white cat with matted fur is seen clinging to the bars as an impassive butcher is preparing other animals for slaughter. Huru was rescued from the Washington Animal Rescue League representatives. Huru and another cat were brought to America and since their rescue, they no longer look haggard and unkempt but are fluffy and have a look of satisfaction. Images of Huru were seen in social media, and her story was used to raise awareness among those who vehemently oppose the festival.
There are plenty of stories about people who rescue cats. Visit any animal shelter and you are bound to hear miraculous stories that may make you believe that cats do indeed have nine lives. Even more amazing are stories about cats who save human lives. Dogs are often credited for being loyal heroes who would go through fire and water for their owners. Cats may seem more independent and aloof, but that doesn’t mean they are indifferent. There are a number of cat heroes who have saved humans or other animals from danger.
Part of parenting is teaching a child about what to do in an emergency. From an early age, children must learn how to dial the fire department, the police or other numbers immediately. One man taught his cat to dial 911 mainly for his own amusement. He said he wasn’t quite sure why he tried to train his cat to do this and he didn’t expect the cat to remember it or understand when to call the emergency number. These lessons came in handy when the man suffered a medical emergency. Gary Rosheisen of Columbus, Ohio was lying on the floor after having fallen out of his wheelchair. When the officer arrived on the scene he saw Rosheisen unable to get up and an orange and tan striped cat reclining beside the telephone. Rosheisen suffered from osteoporosis and often had mini-strokes that made it difficult to get up again after falling down. He usually wore a special necklace to raise an alert during medical emergencies but he had forgotten to put it back on and his other equipment was beside his bed. Rosheisen had fallen down in the living room and his pet cat was nearby to witness the occurrence.
Tommy the cat sensed that something was amiss and dialed 911, as he had been trained to do. When the call was received, there was no one at the other end of the line and Officer Patrick Daughtery went to check out the situation. Rosheisen adopted Tommy to help him with his health problems. Someone suggested that a pet cat may help lower his blood pressure. He would find out that not only would Tommy help him with hypertension, but he would save him in an emergency.
A dog is supposed to be “man’s best friend” but that principle may be owner-specific. Anyone who has been attacked or bitten by a dog knows that their love of humans is not without exception. Cats may seem like no match for a dog in terms of size and strength, but cats are nimbler than canines and some believe that they are better at planning. So who would your rather have to protect you—a cat or a dog? Many people may choose a dog, but cats have their own formidable powers.
Cherry Woods, a 39-year-old woman from Texas, was returning home and spotted two pit bulls in the distance. She didn’t think anything of the sight until she noticed that the dogs were racing towards her. One of them knocked her down right in front of her home. The pit bulls’ attack was sudden and they would not let up. Cherry’s husband Harold was inside and noticed what was going on. He ran outside and tried to get the two pit bulls off of his wife who was struggling and panicked by the attack. Harold and Cherry were unable to ward off the dogs for any length of time. As soon as they were pushed away, they came back for another attack. Lima, the couple’s calico cat came to the rescue. Calico started hissing and then jumped onto the pit bulls. Lima scratched the dogs, and in spite of her diminutive size, she managed to surprise the dogs enough that they backed up and allowed Harold to help Cherry escape and run inside. The two dogs were quarantined and examined to see if they were fit to be allowed outside. Cherry was traumatized by the event, but she had Lima to help her through the aftermath and to protect her in future.
Cats have a keen sense of smell and their fragrance, which is usually cannot be detected by us, is a source of pride. Felines rub their heads against sofas to leave their scents as a kind of graffiti indicating that they were there. It isn’t just feline scents that cats detect keenly, but many kinds of smells. It is for this reason that there are a number of stories about cats rescuing people from gas leaks. They are the first to detect the problem and sense that something is amiss. In addition, many people are alerted to fires by cats, because cats tend to keep different hours from human beings. Felines are nocturnal creatures and are often awake when their owners are asleep. This helps them play the role of night watchmen.
Schnautzie the cat sat on the chest of her owner, Trudy Guy, while she was asleep. At first, Trudy thought that Schnautzie wanted a late night cuddle, but the cat was acting more persistent than usual and would not leave. Trudy felt her cat’s behavior was unusual until she was fully awake and smelled the strong stench of gas. She got up to discover that a gas pipe was roaring outside her bathroom. She quickly called for help and vacated the home with Schnautzie. She was told later that if she had remained in the house for just a few more minutes, she would probably have lost her life or had been severely injured in a massive explosion. For her heroic, life-saving action, Schnautzie was given the Purple Paw award from the Animal Foundation of Great Falls, Montana.
It isn’t just humans that cats rescue. What can be particularly touching is when cats rescue animals that would otherwise be their prey. It is hard to know when a cat will chase after a rabbit or a squirrel and when they will treat these animals like one of their own. In some cases, it is the maternal instinct that overrides the need to hunt prey, and in some cases, this maternal instinct can be applied to other baby animals besides kittens.
Missy, a gray cat gave birth to kittens. Unfortunately, the kittens were not healthy and they died. Missy was distraught at the loss of her brood and was restless and bereaved. Missy spent part of the time indoors and partly outdoors and would often venture outside to assuage her loss. The owners thought that Missy was out hunting mice and was going to bring them her catch. They were amazed to see their cat return with a live baby bunny. Missy was holding the bunny in her teeth by the scruff of its neck. The cat deposited one bunny on her cat bed and ran back to retrieve another bunny and another. It was clear that she was adopting these bunnies as her own. Missy started grooming the bunnies and turned them around to try to encourage them to nurse. Unfortunately, Missy’s milk had dried up and she was unable to feed them. The owners located the bunny nest outdoors and kept Missy indoors for a day. The bunnies were no longer in their location by the next day, and the owners concluded that mother rabbit had probably returned and moved them.
Whether cats are the rescuers or the rescued, they certainly do not lead dull lives. Cats are remarkably resilient and nimble and are able to survive some of the most extreme circumstances, even falling out of windows or getting caught in engines. However, their ability to survive shouldn’t be taken for granted, and safety measures should be taken to ensure cats don’t end up in danger in the first place. Keep screens on your windows if you live a few stories above street level, try to keep your cat out of the kitchen and check your vehicle before starting your car. After all, if you take measures to preserve your cat’s safety, maybe he or she will rescue you one day.