When Her Human Was In Danger This Cat Took Things Into Her Own Paws

Most of us do anything for our pets: we adjust our homes for them, get their favorite foods, and pay for expensive vet bills when they get sick. Some of us would even put our lives on the line for them without expecting the favor to be returned.

Tara the cat loved every one she met, but she formed a special connection with one member of her family. And it was lucky she did, because when she sensed her friend was in danger, she did what few other pets would — or even could — do. Security footage caught her unprecedented bravery on tape!

Tara the Tabby cat was a California native who, one day, wound up in front of Mr. and Mrs. Triantafilo in Bakersfield. It was love at first sight. The cat followed them home, and the they adopted her into their family.

The name “Tara” was short for Zatara, the name smugglers gave to Edmond Dantès in The Count of Monte Cristo. The smugglers said it meant driftwood, which fitted the kitty perfectly, as she had been adrift for a while before finding this new family.

While rescue cats can often turn out really skittish, Tara was friendly to every single person and animal she met. When asked about her, Roger, her human dad, said that “the neighbor kids come over and play with her. She even gets along with our dog, Maya.”

The cat seemed most fond of the family’s oldest son Jeremy. “Jeremy and Tara spend a lot of time walking around and talking with one another,” Roger said. “If Jeremy falls off his bike, she comes running. If he starts crying, she comes running.”

The Today Show/Youtube

On a sunny day in May of 2014, when Jeremy was only 4 years old, he went outside to play on his new bike. He was learning to ride without training wheels. Jeremy stayed close to the house so his mother could watch him through the window.

That afternoon, the neighbor’s dog was loose and heard Jeremy biking next door. At first it seemed like the 8-month-old pup was only curious and wanted to play with the young boy, but things quickly took a very dark turn.

Out of nowhere, the dog became aggressive, and it attacked 4-year-old Jeremy who never saw it coming. The pup, named Scrappy, bit straight into Jeremy’s leg and shook him around until he was dragged off of his bike!

But Tara had witnessed everything, and although she was a peaceful cat, she was NOT about to let anybody mess with her best friend. Without a second of hesitation, she ran towards the much larger dog!

Thankfully, Tara’s act of bravery worked. She not only got the dog to let go of Jeremy, but she chased him off before quickly returning to check on her BFF. In the meantime, Jeremy’s mom Erica had become aware of the situation and ran to her son’s side, unable to believe what had just happened.

Roger Triantafilo/Youtube

While Tara was able to fight off the danger, Jeremy had still been bitten by the dog. He was immediately rushed to the hospital to assess the damage to his leg and get a Rabies shots, as the family suspected that Scrappy might have been rabid.

Roger and Erica Triantafilo were so proud of their favorite feline friend that they uploaded the security camera footage of her heroism to YouTube, where it got over 20 million views in less than 5 days. This had never been done before!

The Today Show/Youtube

Jeremy needed some time to recover from the attack, but he was able to enjoy Tara’s company the entire time. In the following months, they only grew closer as he showed his gratitude to her with infinite pets. “She is my hero,” he said about his kitty companion.

It wasn’t long before everyone in Bakersfield had heard of Tara’s heroism; one by one they came by the house to see their local hero and leave the family some flowers and kitty treats. She received even more attention when a minor league baseball team, the Bakersfield Blaze, sent Tara some VIP tickets to their next game…

Associated Press

Tara received the honor of being the game’s MVC — most valuable cat — and was asked to throw the first pitch (not easy with paws). Clearly, even Tara was confused by this request, although she and the Triantafilos greatly appreciated the gesture.

Kevork Djansezian/Reuters

Although Tara wasn’t very skilled at throwing the first pitch, the town was in awe of her and called her family in for a very special town hall meeting. There, the Board of Supervisors proclaimed June 3 Tara the Hero Cat Day!

Associated Press

A few months later, Tara received an award usually only presented to military dogs: the Blue Tiger Award, one of the biggest honors for four-legged heroes.

KBAK

Because the video earned so many views, Tara was awarded the Special Award For Cat Achievement by the Cat Vid Festival — arguably one of the greatest festivals in the history of time!

The Catnip Times

While she would probably be happy with rewards like treats or cuddles, Tara accepted her new fame and honor gracefully. On June 19, 2015, the little hero became the very first cat who won the Los Angeles SPCA’s “Hero Dog” award.

Associated Press

Since the award had never been presented to a feline friend before, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals actually had to cross out the word “dog” and etch in the word “cat” instead. Luckily, Tara didn’t really seem to mind.

Associated Press

The best part of winning the Annual National Hero Dog Cat Award? Tara also won a year-long supply of cat food! If we could ask her about all her gifts, we’re pretty sure this one is ultimately her favorite. 

Jeremy and his parents are forever grateful for her heroism, and are incredibly glad they invited her to become part of their family! This appreciation for a feline was echoed by Erin Merryn…

See, if there’s one thing most animal lovers hate about colleges, it’s their rules about pets. Sure, a guinea pig or a couple of goldfish are nice, but there’s nothing like curling up with a big fluff ball after a long day of hitting the books.

PetLife

This was the case for Erin Merryn, who, while off at school, longed to cuddle with her furry pals back home. That’s why despite her university’s strict rules – and warnings from her friends – Erin adopted a sweet orange kitty named Bailey.

But after only a week, Erin was busted with the kitten in her dorm. The 19-year-old begged to keep her new pet, but the university wouldn’t have it — she had 48 hours to find Bailey a new home.

Unfortunately, Erin’s parents couldn’t offer much help: with two cats and a dog already under their care, taking on another pet seemed too great a responsibility. And so, like the university, her parents gave it to her straight: the cat had to go.

Finally, after exhausting all of her options, Erin got in touch with an elderly woman from the neighborhood she lived in as a child. Despite having pets of her own, the woman agreed to take Bailey into her home.

Just four days later, however, the elderly woman reached back out to Erin with some heartbreaking news. The woman’s pets weren’t getting along with Bailey; he’d have to find someplace else to live.

At this time, Erin was readying for a month-long break from school and decided, despite her parents’ protests, to bring Bailey home with her. But even if she promised to keep the cat in her room, convincing her parents to take Bailey in wouldn’t be easy.

And she was right! Her parents were livid over her keeping the cat, but Erin assured them she’d spend the next month looking for a home for Bailey. All the while, however, Erin was secretly trying to get her parents to fall in love with the adorable kitty.

Sure enough, they did, and 14 years later Erin and Bailey are still together and as inseparable as they were back then. Still, she never anticipated what would happen when their twosome finally became a trio…

See, in 2014, Erin got pregnant with her first child, Abby, and was nervous about how the cat would react to a new member of the family. Would he be upset? Would he be jealous? After all, it had really just been the two of them for all these years.

When Abby was finally born, Bailey was initially wary of the new baby and would spook at the sight of the little human. But it wasn’t long before Bailey’s hesitation passed. Just like her and her mother, the cat and baby Abby grew inseparable as well.

Not a day went by where Bailey wasn’t at Abby’s side, curling up next to her during feedings and following her everywhere she went. The loyal tabby would even stand guard while the tiny infant napped.

Bailey No Ordinary Cat / Facebook

As Abby aged, Bailey went from being a spectator of play time to a participant, joining the toddler on all of her adventures. And when it was time for “Dr. Abby” to open her “office,” Bailey was always the first patient at her door.

Then, in 2016, Erin welcomed baby Hannah to the family. You’d think that all this time spent with Abby would’ve pooped the teenage cat out by this point, but Bailey proved that he still had plenty of love to give.

Whether being fed, read to, pushed in a stroller, or dressed up like a princess, Bailey was always down to join in the fun that his two sisters were having. And no matter how much or for how long they wanted to play, Bailey just kept coming back for more.

“Normal cats don’t let you do that, but Bailey does,” said Erin of her sweet fur ball. “I think he adores these girls so much, he just tolerates it.”

Bailey’s reputation as the world’s kindest, cuddliest cat soon began to grow, and in August 2018, a video of Abby singing to Bailey went viral. Ellen DeGeneres even shared Bailey on her Instagram, turning the lovable feline into an online sensation overnight.

And now, believe it or not, Bailey will have even more opportunities to go viral with his adorable antics now that Erin has welcomed her third daughter, Claire, into the family. It looks like he’s already decided to get a head start!

But the good news doesn’t stop there — Bailey’s also going to have his own book! Bailey: No Ordinary Cat is set to be released in 2109, and will feature a collection of photos of the adorable cat and his sisters. He’ll definitely be excited to add this one to his collection!

Bailey is truly one of a kind, but touching lives is simply a natural instinct for most cats. That’s why you’ll not only find them in homes, but also in some pretty peculiar places as well!

Take firehouses for example. They’re full of heroic firefighters, of course, but they’re all usually brimming with bright red fire trucks, life-saving equipment, those handy fire poles, and…

Jennifer Mansfield-Jones / Wikimedia

…Dalmatians! These spotted dogs have a storied history with firehouses, as they acted as alarm systems in the days of horse-drawn carriages. Before sirens, a Dalmatian’s bark would alert people to move out of the way. One firehouse opted for another kind of mascot.

tinyfroglet / Flickr

The Belmont Fire Department in Greenville, South Carolina, has a four-legged mascot that doesn’t exactly fall in line with tradition, and it’s all thanks to one special animal who simply showed up one day and never left…

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

The story goes that the fire chief went out one day, and when he returned to the station, this little fella was sitting inside waiting for him. Amused by the interloping ginger kitty, the fire chief turned to his crew, who shrugged and asserted, “He lives here now.”

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

The cat, whose name was, appropriately, Blaze, showed up to the station malnourished, and he simply decided he wasn’t leaving. The crew took pity on the indomitable cat and offered him some of the fried chicken from the kitchen’s fridge.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Once Blaze was a permanent member of the firehouse, he seemed to develop his own gravitational pull, because the firefighters couldn’t get enough of him! Here’s one firefighter giving Blaze a nice back scratch. Still, this cat served a more utilitarian purpose at the firehouse, too…

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

See, Blaze was no deadbeat roommate. He was sure to lend a paw on the day-to-day repair work. Blaze even gave his firefighter pals supportive high-fives! Sometimes, it’s just nice to have someone there to tell you “good job.”

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Fire engine repair was just one aspect of the job for Blaze. Sometimes, he performed thorough inspections of all the equipment… or it’s possible he thought those fire hoses were just big strings to swat at.

One thing that surprised all of the firefighters was how at peace Blaze was with all of the noise. Blaring sirens, loud trucks—he slept through it all! It might’ve helped that he had his very own special firetruck blanket, too.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

In fact, whenever Blaze curled up in bed for the night, the firefighters at the station tucked him in with his special blanket. It was important that Blaze got a good night’s rest; he had a lot of important work to do every day!

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Fire stations are a cat’s dream house. Furnished with hanging uniforms, spacious lockers, and all kinds of equipment, Blaze had the time of his life playing hide-and-go-seek with the firefighters. Can you find him in this picture?

Blaze also helped the firefighters decompress after a tough day on the job. In an Animal Planet interview, one fireman recalled a moment after returning from a brutal fire: “Within thirty seconds of coming home from that fire, [Blaze] came around the corner, and just sat next to me, just kinda like, ‘hey, I’m here if you need me,'” he said.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Fighting fires is tough, dangerous work. Thankfully, Blaze offered these firemen reprieve from all of that. No matter how tough the job might get, these brave men and women knew that Blaze would be waiting for them back at the station.

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

Blaze meant so much to the crew at the Belmont Fire Department that they honored him with his very own custom cap. Now, Blaze is officially part of the crew—and he even has the official gear to prove it!

flamethearsoncat / Instagram

The firefighters likely had no idea they would be making such a great friend on the day that Blaze wandered into the station. But because they let him into their home and treated him with kindness, Blaze happily returned the favor. He might not be a Dalmatian, but he sure makes for one heck of a mascot!

 

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