Hero Cat Saves His Owner From a Heart Attack



Sam Felstead and her cat, Billy, who unknowingly saved her life just a few days before the photos were taken.

Milo Martinson, Photojournalist

It’s been said that our pets can sense when we are in danger. Whether that is fact or wishful thinking, Sam Felstead may not have been alive today without her feline companion, Billy. 

In the early hours of August 8th, 2022, Ms. Felstead suffered a heart attack in her home in Nottinghamshire, England, while she was fast asleep. Her 7-year-old cat seemingly noticed something was wrong, proceeded to wake her up by jumping on her chest, and meowed in her ear as loud as he possibly could. These actions were extremely unusual for Billy and took many for surprise, as he’s known to be a pretty independent and quiet cat.

Ms. Felstead woke up covered in sweat and was unable to move. She had shooting pains down the right side of her body, and she knew she needed to get to the hospital immediately. Doctors who treated her said it was a miracle she made it to the hospital on time, and she would’ve been beyond the point of help if she had woken up any later than she did. Feline behaviorist, Lucy Hoile, remarked that Billy was probably reacting to physiological changes in his owner and was meowing and jumping on her as a result of his own anxiety at that moment. “I do believe he saved her life,” the expert told local news reporters, “because that’s what enabled her to get medical help” (goodnewsnetwork.org). 

“While cats are the evil rulers of the world, they still have a crack of good in their hearts.” Katherine Nguyen (10) says after hearing Billy’s story. Cats are often seen as little fluffy menaces that live in our homes, but is that really true to their character? Billy is one of many examples of cats that, although they don’t always show it, do acknowledge and care for their people. Owning a cat has proven to reduce stress and anxiety, reduce feelings of loneliness, and even reduce risk of heart disease and stroke. A cat’s purr is at a frequency that has been shown to heal sickness and broken bones, so while you might be annoyed at a cat sitting and purring on you while you need to get stuff done, they’re simply trying to make you feel better.

While cats are the evil rulers of the world, they still have a crack of good in their hearts

— Katherine Nguyen (10)

On top of being total love bugs underneath their grumpy demeanor, cats are fairly low maintenance compared to other pets. Unlike dogs, cats don’t require as much room to explore and play, and they don’t need to be trained. All cats need is a clean litter box, a scratching post or two, a well balanced diet, and a consistent environment. Grooming is also something to think about; however, cats bathe themselves daily, so all that’s required of the owner is to run a brush through their fluffy mane of hair weekly to prevent matting in certain breeds. It’s best to keep cats indoors, but having a window they can look out of for bird watching is one of the best ways to keep them happy with their indoor life. 

27% of all cats in America are strays and 31% are in shelters without a home. It’s so important to have people involved in their community, especially in animal shelters (aspca.org). If you or someone you know are interested in adopting a cat, please consider looking towards your local animal shelters, who are usually overflowing with kittens around this time of year. In Yorba Linda, there’s quite a few shelters available to the public; however, if you’re specifically looking for a feline friend I suggest looking into Cats In Need. CIN is a locally run shelter specifically run for cats. Unlike other shelters, CIN houses all their animals in foster homes to improve the quality of life for these kitties. CIN is a very hands-on group, and they have adoption shows every Saturday from 12-3pm. The adoption shows are located at the PetSmart in Savi Ranch, and you can find them online at catsinneed.com. 

Our animals are more intuitive than any of us realize, cats especially. Billy puts a good name on cats everywhere for his heroic actions, whether he knows it or not.