The dangers of homeownership rarely occupy our minds until they happen to us, then we realize that we escape or evade terrifying things on a daily basis. Carbon monoxide cannot be smelled or seen but is fatal if breathed too long. Radon, a radioactive substance, has levels high enough to warrant action from the EPA in about 1 in 15 homes in the United States. We learn about fires and fire escape protocol when we’re children, but never really think about actually escaping a fire. Until it happens.
In New Zealand, fire authorities were called to the scene of a massive farm fire. When they arrived they saw the farm house and buildings were fully lit and set to work detaining the blaze, keeping it away from the surrounding wooded area. Wait, what about the occupants of the building? Well, they had already escaped thanks to an unlikely helper.
While one of the occupants was asleep and the other was in town shopping, the blaze started consuming the house. Oblivious to the danger surrounding him during his slumber, the unnamed man cozily slept on. This guy must’ve been a really hard sleeper. That is until he was awakened and potentially saved by his pet cat who was freaked out by the smoke and fire and jumped on his chest, jolting him awake to the house being in flames.
“He was wakened by their cat when the animal jumped on him. He got up to find smoke in the dining and kitchen area, and got out of the building through a bedroom window,” said firefighter Chris Grimson.
They aren’t sure how the fire started, but thankfully nobody was harmed, including the heroic feline. For human beings being creatures of higher intellect, it’s not uncommon for animals to save our skins from time to time. It’s apparently especially common with cats because this is far from the first story that a cat has saved their owner from sleeping through a fire.
Earlier this summer, in the United Kingdom, a fire broke out in the apartment right below fast asleep resident Sharon Kane. It wasn’t until her black cat — Prince Ozzy — got on her chest and started batting her in the face with his paws that she finally woke up. Able to hang an SOS sheet out her high window, she signaled emergency responders.
Our pets love us and we love them. We’re certain that in these cases each owner is incredibly grateful that their lives were saved by their cats’ instinctual awareness that fire is bad.
We can only presume the cats were thinking, “Wake up and get meowt of here!”