Video: Hero cat credited with saving family

updated 4/9/2007 12:21:29 PM ET 2007-04-09T16:21:29

A cat helped spare a family from death by carbon monoxide poisoning by jumping on the bed and meowing wildly as fumes filled the home, the owners said.

Eric and Cathy Keesling said their 14-year-old cat, Winnie, played a crucial role in saving their lives March 24 after a gasoline-powered water pump in their basement caused the odorless but deadly gas to build up.

About 1 a.m., the domestic shorthair began nudging Cathy’s ear and meowing loudly.

“It was a crazy meow, almost like she was screaming,” said Cathy, who hesitated to get up until Winnie’s caterwauling and jumping persisted.

When she finally climbed from bed, she realized she was nauseous and dizzy and couldn’t awaken her husband. Because he had undergone minor neck surgery the previous day, she decided to call 911 but was so disoriented she had trouble dialing.

Paramedics found the couple’s 14-year-old son, Michael, unconscious on the floor near his bedroom. The Keeslings were taken from the home in oxygen masks, treated for carbon monoxide poisoning and soon recovered.

Cathy Keesling said Winnie acted similarly last summer when tornadoes tore through the area, 45 miles east of Indianapolis.

“I really believe cats can sense these kind of things,” she said.

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