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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Underdog Heroes?



by Sarah Raplee
 
I have to admit I have a soft spot for underdogs.
My favorite fictional hero is Julian Cash from Alice Hoffman's magical romantic thriller, Turtle Moon. Julian is born so ugly that his mother abandons him and bees won’t sting him. Against the odds, Julian grows into a policeman with moral integrity and the capacity for great heroism and great love.
 
Brander Hansen, the hero of Kris Tualla’s historical romance, A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery, is another wonderful underdog hero. Deaf since age seven, Brander loses his inheritance when he’s twenty-three through no fault of his own. He goes on to earn his own estate as an eighteenth century Norwegian private eye. And he wins the heart of a beautiful, intelligent woman.
In real life, a whole group of unsung underdog heroes has recently come to my attention:
Hero Cats.
Yes, you heard me correctly: I am a fan of Feline Heroes. Underdog heroes who hiss and spit. Brave, loyal, determined companions to whom many people owe their lives.
 You may believe dogs act heroically much more often than cats do, but I’m not so sure (although I’m a HUGE fan of dogs! They work their way into most of my stories.)
Cats have gotten bad press. For example, when a dog is a hero, the headline says Hero Dog Saves Family from Fire
When a cat is a hero, the headline says ‘Hero’ Cat Apparently Calls 911 to Help Owner.
Let’s see, the 911 dispatcher gets a call but no one speaks on the line. The dispatcher hangs up and calls back. No one answers. The police investigate and discover the owner’s cat, Tommy, lying next to the phone. The cat’s owner has fallen out of his wheelchair and can’t summon help. The owner has worked with the cat for three years to teach him to dial 911 using a speed dial button.
I ask you, why is the word hero in quotes? Why is the word apparently there at all?
Original NBC News report

Was that case the exception that proves the rule? An unusually intelligent, loyal, well-trained cat? You be the judge. Let’s examine a few more cases of kitty heroics:
YouTube video of a hero cat protecting campers from alligators
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_29k6dJ6DA
YouTube video of a hero cat protecting a family from a wild bear
www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-BD4wL_8TM
June 2010: Fearless Cat Saves Owner from Dog AttackA tortoiseshell named Lima distracts two pitbulls who attack her owner by attacking one of the dogs herself. This distracts them, giving the owner’s husband a chance to pull her inside the house. The cat escapes unharmed. Original Blog Story
November 2011: Owner Says Cat Saved Him from Fire
(Notice how the headline casts doubt on the story?) The cat jumped up and down on his lap until he woke up.
Original Fox Carolina News Story
CHARLEY
 August 2012:  In the UK, Charley, a black-and-white puss, was the winner out of fifteen hero cats that made the finals for the Hero Cat title at Cats Protection's prestigious National Cat Awards 2012. According to doctors, Charley saved her owner’s life when she had a diabetic attack in the middle of the night. Charley awakened the owner’s husband and led him to the bathroom where she lay on the floor. Charley won a trophy, a three months’ supply of cat food, a year's supply of Verdo Cat Litter and a framed photograph of himself. (Verdo Cat Litter sponsors the award. )
Original Story on Cat Protection’s Website

Do you think cats have gotten bad press? Why or why not?

5 comments:

Paty Jager said...

Most animals will go to the aid of their masters. I think once an animal feels they are part of the "herd" they then protect all their "herd" members. So the cats are protecting what they consider their family or herd. Great post! (Even though I'm not a cat fan) ;)

Judith Ashley said...

Don't know that cats get bad press any more than dogs do. I wouldn't mind a law that required cats to be walked on leash, their cat poop picked up by their owner - actually, I'd cheer for that law if one was ever introduced.

Whenever I read about a cat or dog or child or neighbor or stranger who goes to the aid of someone, my heart gladdens and I smile. While there are certainly problems in the world, we've not gone to hell in a hand basket.

Sarah Raplee said...

Glad you enjoyed the post, Judith and Paty! Thanks for stopping by.

Kris Tualla said...

Thank you SO MUCH for the shout-out! :)

Diana Mcc. said...

You convinced me, cats do get a lot of bad press! I have to agree with Paty, I think any animal that feels it is part of the family/herd will try and save it's family from harm. Great YouTube videos.