Move over, Lassie. These cats prove they’re just as tough, loyal, and resourceful as their canine counterparts.
In 2014, Bakersfield, CA tabby Tara was caught on camera fighting off a dog who was attacking one of her humans, 4 year-old Jeremy Triantifilo. The clip was uploaded to YouTube and received over 24 million views. A year after her amazing rescue, Tara received the SPCA’s annual “Dog of the Year” award.
York, PA resident Angelica Sipe heard a loud noise in her living room. She soon discovered a stray bullet had punctured the window. Her son was in the living room sound asleep, but she quickly realized her cat, Opie, had taken the bullet. Although the bullet hit Opie in the top of the head and punctured his shoulder on the way out, Opie survived thanks to intervention by an emergency vet. Sipe believes Opie “took the bullet” for her son and considers him her hero.
This calico cat made headlines in 1996 when she transported her five kittens from a burning Brooklyn, NY garage. Firefighters rescued mama and babies and brought them to the North Shore Animal League, where the mother was named Scarlett and she and her kittens were housed and treated for three months. Scarlett, who was eventually adopted by Long Island resident Karen Wellen, became a media darling, appearing on Oprah and in the first segment of Animal Planet. Scarlett died of various fire-related ailments in 2008.
Pitouchi was one of many brave cats who “served” in World War I, catching mice on ships and sometimes acting as gas detectors. Pitouchi was adopted by Belgian Lieutenant Lekeux, even saving Lekeux’s life when he hid in a shell hole. As soon as a German soldier said “He’s in the hole,” Pitouchi jumped out, fooling the soldier and his squad into thinking they’d mistaken a man for a cat.
5. “Crimean” Tom
Also known as Sevastopol Tom, this tabby cat led starving British and French troops to hidden caches of food during the Crimean War in 1854.
21-pound Wisconsin rescue Pudding saved his new owner, Amy Jung, when she had a diabetic seizure in her sleep. Pudding was able to wake up Jung’s son, Ethan, who then called for help. Since the rescue, Jung has registered Pudding as a therapy cat.
Simon was born in 1947 in the dockyards of Hong Kong and was soon smuggled on board the HMS Amethyst by 17 year-old Seaman George Hickinbottom. Eventually he met the ship’s captain, who was, fortunately, a cat lover, and was quickly assigned to official mouse-catching detail. In April 1949, the Amethyst was traveling up the Yangtse River when it was shot at by Communist forces. Simon was thought to have been asleep when the incident happened and was awakened when a piece of shrapnel caught him in the leg. Simon survived to be treated by the ship’s surgeon and was eventually given the Dickin Medal and the designation of “Able Seacat.”
Who says the bigger the animal, the more fearless? In 2006, West Milford, NJ cat, Jack, who also happened to be clawless, chased a black bear up a tree in his family's backyard and held him at bay for 15 minutes. Eventually the bear scuttled back into the woods. “He doesn’t want anybody in his yard,” said Jack’s owner, Donna Dickey.
Schnautzie was only six months old when she saved her Great Falls, MT owners from a gas leak by tapping Trudy Guy on the nose with her paw to wake her up. Schnautzie was later awarded the Purple Paw by the Great Falls Animal Foundation.
Found abandoned in a box in Dartford, UK, Pippa was eventually adopted through the RSPCA by the Jansa family. According to the Jansas, Pippa has a special gift of being able to wake eight year-old Mia, who is a type 1 diabetic, when she’s about to experience a hypoglycemic episode. If she can’t rouse Mia, she wakes her mother, Laura.