Giving new meaning to the term “CAT scan,” Tiger the Cat successfully detected lung cancer in his owner, Lionel Adams, thereby saving his life.
Now recovering from surgery, Adams described how Tiger alerted him to a mass in his lung: “He would climb into bed and take his paw and drag it down my left side — he was adamant there was something there,” he said.
“And it was right where the cancer was.”
Adams showed no symptoms of lung cancer before Tiger’s behavior prompted him to discuss it with his family doctor. The doctor referred him to a specialist. An X-ray revealed stage 1 lung cancer in his left lung, right where Tiger said it should be. Doctors subsequently removed a portion of the lung during surgery.
Adams credits Tiger for saving his life. “I think if he hadn’t done the pawing part it could have gone on for another five, six months undetected,” he said. “I feel like it could have been a lot worse if the cat hadn’t had tuned in to something there, to something he felt was wrong. I would say he’s my hero.”
Barbara Walmer, head of animal behavior at the Calgary Humane Society, verified that Tiger is not alone… cats and dogs have been reported acting in similar ways to detect health problems in their owners. “I think we see more predicting in dogs, but for sure many pet owners have reported pets can have a sixth sense when knowing when something is wrong.”
Ironically, Tiger has never been one to show affection. “He’s never had that much to do with me except to come over for a pet,” Adams said, with a laugh.