In search of ponies: Cats have ability to help; choice another matter

It's hard to imagine them being capable of acts of heroism.

First and foremost, even though they do come in larger sizes — tubby being the most likely — domestic cats just aren't powerhouses.

Sure they're great at getting themselves out of harm's way, slinking through tight spaces, landing on their feet and climbing out of trouble, but they aren't exactly built for dragging people out of burning buildings or digging them out of snow banks.

And then there is the fact that as a general rule the personality of the cat is so fiercely independent, they don't seem overly concerned with anyone or anything else — not to say they don't love their owners, but it's definitely on their terms.

In fact, the very quality that makes them good pets — namely not needing or even wanting constant attention — is the thing that makes it hard to believe they would notice if something unfortunate befell their owner until the food bowl finally ran dry.

But there's little doubt cats are intelligent and resourceful, qualities which, when mixed with a strong attachment to their human, can produce some pretty amazing results.

Tommy is a prime example.

When his owner fell from his wheelchair and couldn't reach the phone to call for help, the orange and tan tabby might just have dialed for him.

Emergency responders showed up after receiving a 911 call from the apartment, only to find Tommy sitting next to the phone and his owner incapacitated on the floor, according to The Associated Press.

The cat's owner, anticipating there may come a day when he needed help, said he had tried to teach Tommy to dial 911, but didn't think the training had clicked.

Apparently Tommy, however, got it after all.

British feline Tee Cee has an exceptionally special bond with his epileptic owner, and it's a bond that earned him the title of Hero Cat in 2006 from Cats Protection.

Tee Cee became an early warning system for his family by alerting his owner's wife that her husband was about to have a seizure long before it began. Not only does he sound the alarm, his family told Cats Protection he stays by his side until the seizure has passed.

Charley, the 2012 winner of the same award, knew something was wrong when her owner collapsed on the floor in the middle of the night. Waking her owner's husband, Charley led him to his wife and he administered an injection that no doubt saved her life.

Cats are also sometimes willing to put their natural gifts to good use for humans.

Rusik, a stray who turned up at a checkpoint outside of Stavropol, Russia, soon proved his worth to the police when they discovered he had an incredible nose for caviar and other smuggled seafood items.

Proving incredibly proficient and responsive to training, Rusik ousted a police dog as the new sniffer and stopped countless would-be smugglers until he was killed by a vehicle in 2003, a death lamented in worldwide media reports.

It's nice to know they have it in them, even though chances are better the cat will trip you going down the stairs one day and severely injure you, than the likelihood it will save your life.

Then again, an extra kipper here and there might not be a bad idea — just in case.

Sharna Johnson is a writer who is always searching for ponies. You can reach her at: or on the web at:

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