In a story fresh off the set of Lassie, a black cat recently saved the day when it took action after its owner fell into a ravine. The cat, named Piran, raised the alarm by meowing relentlessly in the field where their owner had fallen, catching the attention of a neighbor who was assisting emergency crews in trying to find the woman, 83 from Cornwall, England.
The perilous fall occurred when the cat’s owner slipped down a 21-meter (70-foot) slope into a ravine. She had been walking in a cornfield near her home in Bodmin when she fell through some fencing and into the ravine, but thankfully survived the fall.
As local residents became aware that she was missing, they enlisted the help of the Bodmin emergency services to look for her. However, it was Piran the black cat who would prove to be the most effective search and rescue worker, as the cat’s constant meowing led a neighbor to its owner’s location.
"Without the cat waiting at the gate to that field, it could have been hours later that I or anyone else would have checked there," said neighbor Tamar Longmuir, reports NPR.
Finally on top of the situation, emergency service workers were able to pull the woman to safety using a line rescue stretcher. Safe back in the field where Piran had first sounded the alarm, she was taken to hospital via air ambulance and is said to be in stable condition.
“This afternoon Officers from Bodmin were tasked to conduct a search for a missing 83-year-old female,” wrote the Bodmin police in a Facebook post. “The female was located by a member of the public who had spotted the female’s cat, meowing in the corner of a large maize field near to her home address.
“Whilst the lady concerned is still currently receiving care, she is in good spirits and is being well looked after.”
The lifesaving power of pets is certainly not a topic that has gone unrecognized in scientific literature. Earlier this year, a paper discussed how pets played a crucial role in protecting their owners from the life-endangering realities of social isolation during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The positive association wasn’t found to be exclusive to cats and dogs either, with interviewees also mentioning birds, sheep, horses, and reptiles that provided a valuable source of comfort
A further study focused on the rescuing skills of dogs specifically and found that your dedicated canine would indeed try to save you if you were in trouble, that is – if they knew how. When faced with a task of reaching food or their distressed owner, researchers found that the motivation to get to either was equal in around a third of dogs tested. It might sound callous that a dog is as motivated by a snack as it is by its owner, but we suspect most dog owners would consider this high praise.
At the risk of Milkshake Duck’ing Piran, who knows? Maybe their owner was holding a bag of treats as she fell.