Cats Can Be Heroes ... But Not in My House

Heroic cats, like Tara who saved a boy from a dog attack, can be found in many homes. Although maybe not in all of them.

By Janiss Garza | Posted: May 19, 2014, 5 p.m. EDT

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Hero Cats in Our Homes
Binga's superpower is looking cute.
Hero Cats in Our Homes
Sparkle and Boodie are funny, often affectionate, and insist on being part of daily activities; but courageous, they are not. .
Hero Cats in Our Homes
Sparkle has shown bravery in the past to protect a fellow cat.
Chances are you saw the news item last week about the cat that rescued a little boy from an attacking dog. It shows a side of cat behavior that often surprises people, but which is actually not all that uncommon. Cats are loyal, and even protective of those they consider family, and there are many instances of cats coming to the rescue. In Homer's Odyssey, Gwen Cooper's memoir about her blind cat, Homer attacks a man who breaks into her apartment and threatens her. Cats have alerted their families when fires break out in their homes and saved owners suffering medical emergencies. Cats can be as devoted and heroic as the next critter. Maybe more.

Well, some of them. Not my cats.

My cats are funny, often affectionate, and they insist on being involved in many of my daily activities. Courageous they are not. The other day, Sparkle was eating lunch and I made the unfortunate choice of using that moment to test the carbon monoxide alarm. With the first shrill beep, she vanished, her food abandoned without a second thought. Binga will happily greet any strangers who come to our door and instantly make friends. But once the dog walker showed up with a stray pooch she had found wandering in the middle of the street and left it in my care for an hour. Binga was deathly afraid of it. Did I mention that this dog probably weighed less than four pounds? Let's not even talk about Boodie, who disappears under the bed or behind the desk at the sound of the vacuum cleaner. Or the doorbell. Or for just about any loud noise or strange happening. My cats are unapologetic, unabashed cowards.

My soul cat, Harlot, was no better than these three. She expected me to protect her, not the other way around. On top of that, she had lousy taste in men, and the worse a guy was for me, the more she kissed up to him.

What about when I'm sick? Do my cats alert the paramedics, or at least my fiancé? Nope. They avoid me like they think I'm going to give them whatever illness I have. Granted, part of this stems from my being fussy, noisy and decidedly unpleasant to be around when I'm sick, but still. They aren't even drawn to me when I have a fever - and cats are normally heat-seeking creatures. They just don't care – so long as I am able to crawl out of bed and give them breakfast and dinner.

So I am embarrassed to admit that although there are cat heroes in the world, and sometimes they make the news, mine fall far short of this ideal. But then, maybe they haven't been put to a real test. There was that one time Sparkle showed a surprising moment of courage when she tried to protect Binga at the vet's office. And while Binga ignores my physical ailments, she is in tune to any emotional turmoil. And even if my cats will never be lauded across the internet or on the evening news for a daring act, they do save me from boredom on a daily basis. It's not newsworthy, but it does count for something.

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Cats Can Be Heroes ... But Not in My House

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Reader Comments

Jm    Arlington, TX

5/28/2014 12:21:25 AM

Mitzi is a British short hair mix. I had just completed my seventh leg surgery and was still on crutches one day and was in the farthest, deepest closet in the house searching for gift wrap. Our cleaning lady came in and when I called to her she came to my location. When she approached, mild-mannered Mitzi ran between us and puffed all up and snarled and hissed at her. I was her wounded parent and appeared to be trapped in a closet. Our cleaning lady, although well-known by our animals, seemed a possible threat to me in my diminished state. She was protecting me. Mitzi never did this before or since. But she showed her love to her Dad parent that day. We lost her in Sept 2012 but her heroics will always be remembered.

Michelle    Apache Junction, AZ

5/27/2014 11:56:07 AM

I was trimming Siamese mix Mandi's back nails which is a chore in itself as she is very grumpy and can be very mean, she was screaming her head off as I had her pinned down, next thing I know I feel sharp things being stuck in my heel, it was my little Calico Autumn attacking me! she I guess thought I was hurting her big sister!

Shirley    Marseilles, IL

5/21/2014 9:19:06 AM

My late Siamese Taz was like my soul mate, always there always protective. Our Aussie dog hates having her toenails cut and will growl and snarl. Taz would watch while I would do this. One day she got so mad she jumped at our dog growled at her and slapped her in the face. I laughed so hard and still do when I remember it, I miss my Taz so much. I have a new one now but Jazmine is not the same, but special all the same.

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