Can Cats Save Our Lives? Remembering Some of the Most Heroic Felines


While dogs are often hailed as heroes in the news, their feline counterparts can be just as heroic. From saving their family members from dog attacks to sniffing out hazardous gas leaks and alerting their owners to heart attacks or intruders, there seems there is no limit to what a trustworthy feline companion can do.

Keep reading to find some of the most uplifting feline hero stories.

Top 7 Heroic Cats:

1. Crimean Tom

Crimean_Tom cat
Image credit: National Army Museum London, Wikimedia, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

Crimean Tom, sometimes also known as Sevastopol Tom, rose to fame in the 1850s when he was said to have helped prevent the British troops from starving during the Crimean War. It seems it was actually Tom’s love of food and his ever-growing frame that alerted the soldiers that food was nearby.

The occupying armies of the Crimean War were finding it difficult to acquire supplies, especially food. The officers noticed Tom was steadily gaining weight and figured he must have found a heart supply of mice nearby. They assumed that the mice were likely feeding off of Russian supplies, so the officers followed Tom to his feeding grounds to find a storeroom full of food. This storeroom helped prevent the British and French soldiers from starving to death.

2. Homer

Homer's Odyssey book by Gwen Cooper

Homer didn’t have the easiest life. He was abandoned as a kitten and lost both eyes to infection. His veterinarian was desperate to find a loving household to take the special needs kitten into their home and was happy when one of his clients, Gwen Cooper, took Homer under her wing.

Homer’s adopted Mom admired his zest for life and fortitude in the face of hardships. This bond between Cooper and Homer inspired Cooper’s 2010 memoir, Homer’s Odyssey, about her life living with this special boy.

Homer did more for his owner than enrich her life, however, as his courage saved her life in the summer of 2000. Cooper was fast asleep in bed when Homer began growling aggressively. When Cooper turned on the lamp to see what the commotion was about, she was surprised to see an intruder hovering over her. Homer, despite his handicap, took it upon himself to save her life, launching himself at the burglar, who then fled the scene.

3. Tara

Tara is a female kitty who became a household name in the United States after she saved her human family’s child from a neighbor’s dog. This heart-pounding moment was immortalized on film thanks to the family’s supervenience camera.

The Triantafilo family didn’t adopt Tara as much as she sort of just adopted herself. She became their pet in 2008 after she followed the parents home, an act the family is forever thankful for.

In May of 2014, the Triantafilo’s son Jeremy was playing in his front yard on his bicycle when surveillance cameras caught a neighborhood dog approaching him. The dog snuck up on Jeremy from behind and grabbed his leg so forcefully that he pulled the child off his bike. Seconds later, Tara comes flying into the camera’s view, seemingly from nowhere, and spooks the dog away. Jeremy needed ten stitches in his leg, but the outcome could have been much worse if not for Tara.

4. Baby

Baby was always a bit timid, but in 2010, when her owner’s lives were at stake, she jumped into action. Josh Ornberg and his partner Letitia Kovalovsky were sound asleep on the sofa in their suburban Chicago home when the cat awoke them. Baby, who wasn’t keen on crawling on her owners under normal circumstances, jumped onto Ornberg to get his attention.

As it turns out, a fire had begun in the couple’s back bedroom. The house was filling with smoke, and Baby had one thing on her mind – to wake up her owners.

The fire destroyed most of the couple’s belongings, but everyone inside survived, including the twins that the seven-months-pregnant Kovalovsky was carrying at the time.

5. Schnautzie

Schnautzie, a tiny black kitten, won an animal hero award after she saved her family from a deadly gas leak.
In October 2007, Trudy Guy woke up in the middle of the night to Schnautzie on her chest. The kitten was patting Guy’s nose with her paw, trying to get her attention. Guy fell back asleep, but within a few minutes, Schnautzie was back to pawing at her face.

When Guy opened her eyes after this second wake-up call, she noticed the cat sniffing the air around the room. Thinking this was strange behavior, she woke up her husband to get his take on the kitten’s actions.
It was at this point that the Guys heard a hissing noise. They quickly diagnosed the sound as a broken gas pipe and fled their home.

Firefighters later told the couple that their entire home could have burst into flames if the furnace kicked in, as it usually would have on a chilly October night.

6. Monty

Potential pet owners with severe health conditions often choose dogs as their keen noses can sniff out incoming seizures, migraines, and dropping or spiking blood sugar levels. As it turns out, however, cats can sense changes in their owner’s health conditions, too.

Monty is a Canadian cat Patricia Peters adopted as a companion kitty for her other cat. But, as fate would have it, Monty seemed more interested in his owner. Whenever Peters was sick or upset, Monty would jump into her lap and comfort her.

This incredible intuition proved indispensable in 2012 when Peters was awoken in the night to Monty nibbling at her fingers. She tried to shoo him away, but when she sat up, she noticed she wasn’t feeling right. The newly diagnosed diabetic was faint, confused, and dizzy.

Monty followed Peters as she stumbled down the hall to the kitchen, where her blood testing kit was stored. He sat next to her while she tested her blood, and when the results showed her blood sugar at 2.7, Peters realized the enormity of the situation.

Blood sugar levels below 2.8 are considered extremely low and incredibly dangerous. People may become confused and drowsy (as was the case with Peters) and even fall into a coma or die.

7. Billy

Billy is perhaps the most recent hero cat on our list. In August of 2022, Billy’s owner, Sam Felstead, suffered a heart attack in her sleep.

Sensing a change in his owner, Billy began jumping on Felstead’s chest and meowing loudly. When she awoke, she was drenched in sweat and couldn’t move. So she had her mother get her to the hospital. When she arrived at the hospital, where the doctors told her it was a good thing he came when she did. She needed an angioplasty, a procedure to open blocked coronary arteries.

Billy likely picked up on subtle physiological or behavioral changes in his owner, which attracted his attention. While he may not have saved Felstead for altruistic reasons, he did save her, and she is eternally grateful for that.

Final Thoughts

While it’s more common to see hero dogs in the news, you cannot deny that cats can be just as brave and courageous. So now you know that your cats won’t only bring you a lifetime of joy and life lessons, but they could one day save your life, too!

Featured Image Credit: Anton27, Shutterstock

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *