Lifesaving cat becomes a local hero

March 3, 2022
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While it is more common to hear of a dog rescuing someone, it is not unheard of to hear about a cat who saved someone.

The Internet has multiple stories about hero cats. A Surveillance video captured a California feline that saved a four-year-old boy from an unprovoked dog attack. Stories of a cat chasing a bear up a tree in someone’s backyard and cats who woke up their owner’s when fire and gas threatened the occupants. Now Fort Payne has its own hero kitty.

Paley is a two-year-old male feline that took up residence at Spring Grove Apartments about 18 months ago. Two ladies living at the apartments, Marci Mitchell and Jean Lewin decided to feed the stray. The cat was named Paley due to the light-colored, orange markings on the otherwise white mouser.

Paley was timid, as most strays tend to be, and showed no desire to come into their apartments and be domesticated. The ladies split the chore of feeding Paley and once the tom cat warmed up to them enough to be captured, they decided to take him to the veterinarian for feline vaccinations and to be neutered. “We split the cost of the vet bill,” said Mitchell. “We both have a cat in our home and didn’t want to risk carrying a feline disease from Paley back to our cat so we got him a complete checkup at the vets.”

Over time Paley became somewhat more domesticated sitting on their laps outside on the porch and enjoying being petted, but still did not desire to come live with either of the ladies or their already existing feline pet. Since Paley showed no desire to be an inside cat the ladies placed an animal carrier with blankets in a place out of the wind for the animal to find some warmth on cold nights.

During the last substantial snow in Fort Payne Paley began exhibiting behavior unfamiliar to anyone acquainted with him. “One evening after dark my neighbor came over and said, ‘Your cat is crying at my window from outside, he’s never done that before,’” said Lewin. “I had fed Paley and had no idea what would have prompted him to carry on like this.”

Lewin went outside to see why the cat was crying. He had been fed and it was highly uncommon for him to act in this manner. “As I went outside and called to Paley he wouldn’t come to me,” said Lewin. “This behavior was unusual as well. I walked closer to him and he would stay just out of me reach leading me away from the building.”

As Lewin continued to follow the cat out into the yard of the apartments he ran down a little slope. Lewin was confused by the cat’s behavior, but was curious what he was so upset about.

Paley continued to lead her behind a large tree in the yard and that is when she suddenly saw someone’s legs on the ground.

Another neighbor lady had been out walking her dog and fallen and was unable to get up. The woman was laying in the snow and mud, but was not crying out for help. Lewin who worked on a rescue team in Washington state for many years quickly got a blanket and told another neighbor to dial 911.

She returned to the woman and began assessing her situation. Lewin asked her questions to determine her medical situation.

“The woman knew who she was and where she was, but it was as if I had awoken her from sleep,” said Lewin. “She was not even crying out for help when I found her, if Paley had not cried for help and led me to her, I’m afraid she might have succumbed to hypothermia during the night if no one had noticed her, it could have had a very bad ending. People don’t give animals enough credit. Paley is a hero.”

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