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Throwback Thursday: That Time A Cat Called 911 And Saved Its Owner's Life

orange cat phone

Typically, when you hear about stories that involve emergency services and cats, you immediately think that a cat got stuck in a tree somewhere and needed to be rescued. But in 2006, it was a cat who did the rescuing when a wheelchair-bound man in Columbus, Ohio, was saved after his orange tabby named Tommy called 911 for him.

According to NBC News, Tommy's owner, Gary Rosheisen, had previously suffered a series of mini-strokes while also suffering from osteoporosis, which meant that all of the bones in his body were incredibly weakened. Three years before his cat would save his life, Rosheisen adopted Tommy because he believed that having a pet in his home would help lower his blood pressure. He also believed that if he had a pet around the house, he wouldn't feel so alone all the time.

However, Rosheisen didn't want Tommy to just be any regular housecat. He had previously tried to train the feline to press a speed dial button for emergency services on the phone so that help could be alerted for his frequent seizures.

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Rosheisen hoped that if the training stuck, Tommy would be able to notice if anything happened to him and go to the phone to press the speed dial button for the emergency services. This way, if Rosheisen was unwell at any point, he could count on Tommy to save him. He went to great lengths in order to teach Tommy what to do in case such an emergency situation occurred, but he never thought that all that training had actually worked.

A short time later, Rosheisen had a seizure in his bedroom and fell out of his wheelchair. His balance had been impaired due to all of the strokes and he couldn't get up because of pain from his osteoporosis. At the time, he also hadn't been wearing his medical-alert necklace. Luckily for him, Tommy was there to save the day.

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Emergency services received a silent phone call from Rosheisen's apartment, and when the call disconnected, the dispatcher tried dialing the number again. After there was no answer, the police were dispatched to Gary's home. When they arrived, they found Tommy lying by the phone on the living room floor while Rosheisen was incapacitated in his bedroom, right beside his wheelchair.

Following the incident, both the police and Rosheisen came to the conclusion that Tommy must have remembered his extensive training and hit the right button on the phone to save his owner's life.

"He's my hero," Rosheisen said.

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