Dogs may have earned the reputation as man’s best friend, thanks to their heroic turns as guide animals and police canines, but it turns out that cats are equally skilled at rescuing people — when they want to.
According to animal psychologist Roger Mugford, cats are as capable as dogs at detecting illnesses in humans, but are less likely to do so because they are they are “very much more selfish, solitary creatures.”
But don’t tell that to Wisconsin’s Amy Jung, whose rescue cat saved her life the very same day he was adopted. On February 8th, Jung and her son Ethan stopped by their local Humane Society to play with the adoptable cats. It was there that they met Pudding, a 21-pound (!) orange and white tabby who had been at the shelter on and off since 2003.
Moved by his plight, the Jungs adopted Pudding, as well as Wimsy, one of Pudding’s fellow felines. Later that night, Jung, a lifelong diabetic, slipped into a diabetic seizure in her sleep. That’s when Pudding came to her rescue, nudging and biting at her until she awoke long enough to call out to her son.
Unfortunately, Ethan was asleep and didn’t hear her plea for help. So Pudding sprang into action again, pouncing on Ethan’s bed until he woke up and was able to get medical assistance.
Both Jung and her doctors agree that Pudding’s actions saved her life — apparently his way of thanking her for rescuing him from the shelter. Pudding is now a registered therapy cat who has been trained to sit at Jung’s feet and meow if her blood sugar drops.
And despite Mugford’s assessment of cats’ general unwillingness to help their owners, there are other documented cases of life-saving felines. In 2007, a nursing home cat named Oscar could apparently tell when residents were near death, and would shower them with affection right before they passed away. And in 2011, it was reported that a cat in Atlanta could predict its owner’s seizures, while a Pennsylvania cat saved its owner’s life by pawing at her when she was ill until she was compelled to call the doctor, where she learned that she had suffered a heart attack.
These stories are another argument in favor of pet rescue. You never know — if you save a cat or a dog, one day your pet just might save you right back.