Dogs & Cats

Can Your Cat Save Your Life?

I read about dogs that save their owners'' lives by getting help or opening doors. Are there example...

Dogs often get credit for their lifesaving skills, but cats have also performed similar impressive feats.

Consider a 10-year-old cat named Rusty from Reading, Penn. Recently, Rusty’s owner, Claire Nelson, experienced a health scare. “I was having chest pains and was walking around my apartment about 4 a.m.,” she told Pottstown’s The Mercury. “Rusty is normally a very laid-back, relaxed cat, but he wouldn’t settle down. If I lay on the bed, he’d jump onto my chest, hitting me with his paws and meowing. If I sat in a chair, he’d jump up and put his paws on my chest. I would try to ignore him and go back to sleep, but he’d only get louder.”

Rusty’s persistence encouraged Nelson to “take her chest pains seriously.” She wound up phoning 911. Once at the hospital, she learned she was suffering a heart attack. Recovered, Nelson now credits Rusty -- a cat rescued from a local animal shelter -- for saving her life.

Studies show that animals are extremely sensitive to changes in our bodies. Their sense of smell, vibrations, sounds and more are all very keen. Some dogs can even smell cancer in a person. My guess is that cats could too, but they may simply be more difficult to train and conduct research on.

The bond between a cat and owner must also be considered. Even if a cat can detect physical distress and other dangers, it likely wouldn’t go out of its way to communicate with the victim if that person wasn’t previously bonded to the cat. In Nelson’s case, her relationship investment with Rusty turned out to be quite a wise decision.



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