Dogs have the well-earned reputation of being a human’s best friend. But what about cats? When given the chance, felines can make equally wonderful buddies. Over the next four weeks, National Geographic Kids will identify a few of the qualities you look for in a pal and then compare the two animals. So keep reading and see what you think.
A Friend Helps You When You’re Sick
In Defense of Dogs
One night, when Hazel Woodget lay down on the couch, only three of her four pet Chihuahuas snuggled beside her. Pepe, the most devoted pup, perched on her tummy, stared into her eyes, and kept sniffing her armpit instead. Annoyed, she pushed him away. Then the determined dog pounced on her chest. That’s when Woodget, of Wiltshire, England, in the United Kingdom, felt a pain that made her visit a doctor. Days later, a biopsy revealed a fast-growing cancer in her body. Woodget underwent surgery, and as soon as she was home and recovering, Pepe returned to snuggling. Months later, however, he started staring as he’d done before. Sure enough, Woodget’s cancer had spread. She was treated again.
Woodget’s cancer reappeared two more times after that, and both times Pepe alerted her. “He knew I was sick before I knew I was sick,” says Woodget. “It’s because of what Pepe did that I’m still here.” Pepe was so reliable that his story was used in a medical research study to see if cancer sniffer dogs could be trained. Turns out the answer is yes. That means hospitals may begin putting sensitive-sniffing lifesavers on staff.
In Favor of Felines
When Tee Cee sits and stares directly into his face, Michael Edmonds immediately finds a chair. That’s because Tee Cee is warning him that he’s about to suffer an epileptic seizure. Edmonds, of Yorkshire, England, faints from the seizures. They can strike as often as three times a day. But Edmonds won’t get hurt if he’s sitting down. Not only does Tee Cee warn Edmonds, but the cat also finds and alerts Edmonds’s wife by biting and tugging on her pants. Then the cat stays with Edmonds until he regains consciousness.
“None of us knows how or why Tee Cee does this,” says Samantha Laidler, Edmonds’s stepdaughter. “But it’s quite reassuring. He hasn’t been wrong yet.” All this love comes from a cat that was saved from drowning in a river as a kitten. No wonder the Cats Protection organization named Tee Cee the 2006 Rescue Cat of the Year!