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Hero Cat Saves Family From Dying in Their Sleep, and Also My Outlook on Life

Screengrab via WREG.
Screengrab via WREG.

This story about a hero cat saving its family is also saving me this morning.

The setting is a suburban home in Wisconsin. A malfunctioning water heater is slowly filling the house with the silent killer, carbon monoxide. Kevin Shanahan is in bed as his wife, Annette dozes in the living room chair. Annette awakens. Something’s wrong. She’s struggling. In his bed, Kevin rises from monoxide-laced dreams to a pounding on the door. Is it the fire department, alerted by an alarm? No. It’s just a small cat named Gracie, ready to save the day.


Kevin Shanahan told WREG that when he opened the door to admit the tiny tabby, he saw Annette hanging onto the side of her chair, barely able to move. “I thought I was dying,” said Annette. She called 911 and told them she felt like she couldn’t breath. Firefighters arrived and detected lethal levels of carbon monoxide in the house. The couple was taken to the hospital for an overnight stay.

But what of Gracie? She’s fine. And the Shanahans value their hero cat. “I don’t know how much she was saving our lives,” said Kevin, “But she wanted to get out of there, and she knew enough to know something was wrong, and she was pounding on the door.”


She knew. She knew.

“I say saved by grace, saved by the grace of God,” said Annette, “Because she doesn’t usually sleep with us.” The Shanahans have replaced their 15-year-old CO detector (every five years friends), but nothing can take the place of their adorable savior.

Contributing Writer, writing my first book for the Dial Press called The Lonely Hunter, follow me on Twitter @alutkin

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Eartha Kitteh once saved my life! One of the pilot lights on the stove had gone out, and she woke me up by vomiting as the apartment filled with gas. We would both be 100% dead if it wasn’t for the fact that you can NEVER sleep through the sound of a cat vomiting.

It’s a less dramatic / more cat like rescue than Gracie’s, but whatever. #Herocat.