So often, dogs seem to get all the attention for their amazing deeds of bravery. They jump in front of speeding vehicles, drag their owners from the path of oncoming trains, and pull drowning kids from swimming pools.
But after saving a little boy from an attacking dog, one California kitty proved that felines can be heroes, too. The headline on the front cover of a 2014 issue of the The Bakersfield Californian called her “Ninja Cat,” but to the Triantafilo family, grey Tabby Tara is the best friend and protector anyone could ever ask for.
4-year-old Jeremy Triantafilo was playing on his bicycle in the driveway of his family’s Bakersfield, California home when suddenly, the neighbor’s 8-month-old Chow Chow–Labrador Retriever mix, named Scrappy, pounced at him, teeth gnashing. The attacking dog dragged poor Jeremy from his bike, its jaws around the little boy’s leg.
That’s when the Triantafilo’s beloved cat Tara jumped into action. Tara ran at the large dog as quickly as she could, jumping on top of the dog and ultimately scaring it away from Jeremy.
The attack and Tara’s amazing rescue was all caught on tape thanks to the Triantafilo’s security system. The video of Tara’s courageous actions went viral.
“It’s honestly just a blur,” Jeremy’s mom Erica Triantafilo says of the incident. “I just remember hearing [Jeremy] and the next thing I know, I see my cat flying out of nowhere, onto this dog, and just remember trying to get my son and get the dog away and back in its yard, away from both of us that it was trying to attack.”
Erica was so shaken after the attack that she didn’t even know about Tara’s heroics. But then, she says, her husband showed her the surveillance video. The couple couldn’t believe it when they saw their loyal cat spring into the frame.
“I was like, ‘Well, you know, I’m going to check the tape and see if we got anything, and see if it even caught what happened,” Jeremy’s father, Roger Triantafilo explains. “And sure enough, it was pretty amazing to see just a cat take on a dog and so selflessly just put herself out there and not worry about if she was going to get bit or injured herself.”
“To have her — with no regard for her own life — fly at the dog to protect [Jeremy],” Erika tells ABC News. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Roger says he didn’t even know his cat was anywhere near Jeremy at the time of the attack.
“My cat, I have no idea where she was prior, honestly through the heat of it, I have no idea where she went after,” he says. “Full lion safari moment.”
Six years ago, Tara was a neighborhood stray. The Triantafilos took her in and she instantly became an integral part of the family. Tara’s extraordinary actions prove just how much Tara loves her people.
“It just shows how much she really has a family-oriented mindset,” Roger tells ABC News 23.
Jeremy was bit in his left calf and had to get 10 stitches from the hospital. His mother was also bit while trying to secure the dog. But Jeremy’s parents know that without Tara, their son’s injuries could have been a lot worse.
And Jeremy knows that, too.
“A mean dog hurt me. He tried to bite me. The cat saved me. My kitty’s a hero,” Jeremy says.
Here’s a little video of Tara enjoying the back yard, which is how a cat should be spending his or her time.