Family cat may have saved lives during snow

Jan. 18, 2013 @ 11:09 PM

By BRENDA JENKINS

Special to The Press

Thursday, our electrical power went out about 4:30 p.m. due to the terrible storms. Our family went to sleep near 11 p.m., tired and cold with the power still out.

Around 1:30 a.m., my cat Dexter was walking on my chest as I was asleep on my sofa. I am a very sound sleeper and everyone else was asleep. After a few seconds of being annoyed at the cat, I heard sizzling and popping sounds coming from the kitchen.

When the power failed, I was nearly done cooking dinner. I failed to realize that one of the burners was still in an "on" (medium) position at the time of power failure. During the prior evening, I had put a radio on the stove, along with batteries, trying to get it to work. It did not, but the radio and batteries remained on the stove.

When power returned, the burner came back on. The sizzling noise was the cord smoking and on fire; the radio face was still melting and the popping noises were from the batteries jumping on the hot burner.

I turned the burner off and soaked the area with water, putting out the fire that was starting on the cord and got the radio and burning batteries off of the area. Finally, I went back to bed.

Dexter tends to be a loner and certainly not the type to sleep with me. When he was walking across my chest, I have no doubt that he was attempting to tell me something. Without him stepping all over me as I slept, I wonder how far the fire and damage may have gone or if the four of us here in the home would be safe today.

I am eternally grateful to this cat. I have also heard stories of heroic pets, before but never imagined it would apply in my world. Dexter is about 4 and one of the three rescue cats I have here. I found him at a local yard sale in Sevierville when he was about 6 weeks old.

It was stifling hot weather and he was inside a cardboard box with a little boy kicking the sides of it. They were trying to give him away, but no one would take him. He was sickly looking with a respiratory infection and still was so loving on the drive to his new home.

Maybe what happened to me would be a nice reminder to the readers of what adopting a pet can do. You save their lives and one day, they may save yours.

— Brenda Jenkins is a resident of Strawberry Plains.