When Timothy and Patricia Shuhayda adopted their cat, Max, from the Humane Society of Lebanon County, Penn., more than two years ago, they never imagined he’d return the favor by saving their lives.
Max, a big ginger tabby, is a talkative, laid-back “gentle giant.” So on Thursday morning when he jumped into their bed, bit Timothy on the neck, and ran out into the hallway, they knew something was wrong.
“My wife was coughing in bed, and I asked ‘Are you OK?’ She said not to worry, and that she’d be fine,” Timothy said.
But after Max made his crazy wake-up call, “I ran after him. He was right at the (spare bedroom) door and was batting at the door with his paws. He kept meowing for me to go in there. So I reached for the doorknob, and the wall was on fire.”
The fire, which started at 4:16 a.m., was caused by a space heater that was plugged into a power strip, said city fire Commissioner Duane Trautman. The plug was crimped by a piece of furniture.
Thanks to Max’s alert, the fire was confined to the outlet, wall and power strip. Timothy Shuhayda said he got the fire under control until firefighters arrived, and no one was hurt.
“Max saved our lives,” Patricia said. “He was a very good cat for doing that. It was amazing.”
The home owned by veteran Larry Brinton, whom Patricia, a nurse, and Timothy care for full-time.
When the couple adopted Max in 2009, he joined two other cats in their household. The couple says Max always vies for their attention and is very intuitive to their daily routines.
“He’ll jump on you and pat you if you don’t get up,” Patricia said. “He’ll start meowing and bop you in the head, too.
“Who would have ever guessed a stray cat would go to such measures to save your life? He’s like an angel.”