Why My Cat is My Hero

My cat is my hero.

Sure Yogi has never told me Timmy is stuck in a well, never warned me that the neighbor’s house was on fire, or took a bullet for me—but still, she is a superhero in my eyes. She can fall asleep at the drop of a hat, can put a 200 pound man to sleep in less than 2 minutes simply by laying on my lap, and no spider, insect, or flying bug is safe in my house. Now, these may not seem heroic traits to you, but I guarantee the following cats will make a believer out of anyone.


Scarlett carried her kittens, one by one, out of a burning crack house in Brooklyn, NY in 1996. Now let’s not dwell on her shady past living in a crack house, it’s the heroic nature of rescuing her family we should go on. She suffered severe burns and was blinded by blisters but still saved them all, then touched her nose to each of them to make sure they were safe before collapsing. She was taken to the North Shore Animal League clinic where they received 7000 applications to adopt her and the kittens. Though she went on to live 11 more years with damaged ears and eyelids, she lives on after her story was made into a book, Scarlett Saves Her Family and a children’s’ book The Bravest Cat.

A representation, not the actual hero cat. ©istockphoto/OlyaSolodenko


Tara, a stray who had been adopted 6 years earlier, not only saved four year old Jeremy Triantafilo but became an internet sensation as well. A neighbor’s dog came up to Jeremy, bit him, and pulled him off his bike. Tara not only came to the rescue, she body-slammed the attacking pooch and when Jeremy’s mom Erica joined in the fray, she was bitten too. Jeremy received ten stiches but Tara became a star when a video, pieced together from surveillance cameras got over 5 million views in less than 2 days on YouTube. The family, thanks to Tara, appeared on the Today show and their video has made her a deserving star.


Now this story comes from Wales so be ready for names none of us can pronounce. A cat named Pwditat (no, that’s not misspelled) was another stray that has done good. Judy Godfrey-Brown has a dog named Terfil who has gone completely blind, walking into walls and becoming just generally afraid to walk around. Once Judy brought Pwditat into the home, Terfil’s prayers were answered. The cat leads the dog around the house and garden using her paws to show him the way. They sleep together and are pretty much inseparable.

A representation, not the actual hero cat. ©istockphoto/FatCamera


Simon is the only cat to be awarded the PDSA Dicken Medal, which is an award instituted in 1943 in the United Kingdom to honor heroic work by animals in World War II and then revived in 2000. All of the other honorees, believe it or not, are dogs, pigeons, and two horses—but Simon represents his fellow felines well. Simon, born in 1947 in Hong Kong was taken aboard the HMS Amethyst when just half grown to control an infestation of rats. Simon was wounded and lost for days when the ship was attacked on the Yangtze River in 1949. A ship’s doctor fixed up Simon’s facial burns and shrapnel wounds and he was soon back to rat catching, along with visiting and comforting the sick and wounded sailors onboard. Thanks to Simon and his rat-killing ways, their food stores remained safe and everybody got fed. Simon was presented with a campaign ribbon upon his arrival in Hong Kong and it was decided he would receive the precious Dicken medal in England. Well, despite receiving a hero’s welcome, the poor chap had to be quarantined upon arrival in Plymouth, England where he developed an infection and died. He probably would have survived the infection if not for the war wounds. This hero never received his medal but he did earn the rank of Able Seaman and was buried with full naval honors in a specially-made casket.

A representation, not the actual hero cat. ©istockphoto/BrettCharlton


Cats, and dogs too, are known for their enhanced sense of smell. There are many tales of cats, and dogs, being able to smell diabetes or other ailments in humans. Schnautzie used her super-smelling-senses to save her owner from what could have been a deadly explosion or slow death by asphyxiation. Shnautzie, when she was 3 years old, jumped upon her owner Trudy Guy’s chest while Trudy was soundly sleeping. Schnautzie started pawing her nose, generally bugging Trudy until she got up. To her surprise, she discovered a gas pipe outside her bathroom had broken and was spewing deadly natural gas. They called 911 and the firemen explained that the house was so full of gas it could have easily exploded. Maybe the next time Yogi tries to wake me, I’ll think it’s more than she just wants to play.

A representation, not the actual hero cat. ©istockphoto/iridi

Meet the Author: Michael Ryan

Michael Ryan is a full-time musician along with a humor, travel and outdoor recreation columnist. He's also an avid skier and golfer and has traveled extensively around the U.S, the Caribbean and Europe. His musical career takes him all over the U.S. and his wife drags him everywhere else. His weekly columns “The Life of Ryan” ran in the Transcript and Sentinel newspaper chain for several years and have been featured in the Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News and Mile High Magazine. He is the co-founder, editor and humor columnist for ColoradoLocalLegends.com and currently resides in Morrison, Colorado.

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