A cat that last year saved a boy from a dog by body-slamming the canine has received, fittingly, this year's Hero Dog Award from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) Los Angeles chapter.
Tara, a Bakersfield, feline, had stuck close by her owner, 4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo, since he was a baby. And in May 2014, when the neighbors’ dog escaped as they were pulling out of the driveway and grabbed Jeremy’s leg, Tara wasted no time. She launched herself down the driveway in a fearsome furball and hurled her entire body at the dog, which let go and ran away.
Normally the award is given to a dog, and its winner is known as the National Hero Dog, the SPCA said in a statement. But Tara's doglike actions—against a dog, no less—put her into another kitty class.
“We were so impressed by Tara’s bravery and fast action that the selection committee decided that a cat this spectacular should be the National Hero Dog,” SPCA Los Angeles President Madeline Bernstein said in a statement, adding that the act was proof that the cat lived in a loving household. “A cat who was abused, forgotten, or neglected by her family would not have been as likely to perform selfless, heroic acts to save her companion.”
The kitty heroism caught Indian Country Today Media Network’s attention in May 2014 after Jeremy’s father compiled and posted a video of security-camera footage, which went viral immediately and has continued to be popular. Back then it had garnered six million views. As of June 20, 2015, it had more than 24 million.
Check out last year’s story for another look at kitty heroism in action.
Photo: Richard Vogel/AP
Tara peers at her award from the SPCA Los Angeles chapter, an honor usually bestowed on a dog.