This is the story of Tommy, a red tabby cat who lived (and may still live) with a guy called Gary Rosheisen. Gary was wheelchair-bound. He suffered from osteoporosis and occasionally had mini-strokes which affected his balance. He lived alone in an apartment with Tommy. He had acquired Tommy three years previous to the event to help lower his blood pressure.

This is not Tommy because I do not have a photograph of him. But the description of him is that he is or was (he may be deceased) a red tabby cat. Red tabbies have a bit of a reputation of being very competent and leaders among cats! The picture is in the public domain in my opinion.

One Thursday night, Gary fell off his wheelchair. He couldn’t get himself back into it. He had a medical alert necklace to contact paramedics under such circumstances but unfortunately he wasn’t wearing it. He was unable to reach the emergency chord above his pillow. He was completely stuck and didn’t know what to do.

However, it appears that he had trained Tommy to speed dial 911 under such emergencies. He wasn’t sure that he had been successful in his training until the police in Columbus, Ohio received a 911 call from his address. Although the call was made nobody spoke. They thought they had to go and check it out as diligent and well trained police officers should.

When they arrived at Gary’s home they were greeted with the sight of Tommy lying next to the telephone on the living room floor. They then saw Gary on the floor next to his bed.

Gary told the police officers that he had trained his cat to make the 911 call. Officer Patrick Daugherty found the situation very strange but he decided there was no other explanation to receiving the 911 call. Gary kept his phone on the living room floor to allow access to it by Tommy. Fortunately it had a speed dial 911 button just above the speakerphone button.

It was decided that it would have been fairly straightforward (let’s say possible) for Tommy to press the right button as he had been trained to do. Tommy is Gary’s hero.

I don’t have a date for this little wonder cat story. It seems feasible. We know that domestic cats can open doors when trained to do so or when self-trained. They can open fridge doors and do some quite extraordinary things through observational self-training. I would expect the story to be true and if so we perhaps should remind ourselves that domestic cats are not just there to be companions and entertainers but occasionally to be utilitarian, working cats, the way they were when they were first domesticated!

My thanks to the book Wonder Cats, True Stories of Extraordinary Felines by Ashley Morgan.

Benefits to elderly people

Cat companions do not benefit gay and bisexual men with prostate cancer

This is a study which analyses whether cats and dogs as pets benefit or are detrimental to the mental and ...
Read More

Shy cat living with elderly woman forced to approach neighbour to raise the alarm

This is the story of Sylvester. If he is still alive he would be approaching about the age of 20 ...
Read More

Dainty female cat acts like an alarm clock to help mother of severely handicapped girl

Introduction This is the story of Speedy. There are two things about the story that need to be mentioned at ...
Read More

It’s Grandparents Day today in the UK so here are some nice pictures of cats and grandparents

In the UK, October 6th is Grandparents Day. I believe that in the USA it was Sept 8th this year ...
Read More

‘Unadoptable cats’ often simply need the right person to come along

It's useful to remind ourselves that there is nearly always someone who is suited to a so-called "unadoptable" shelter cat ...
Read More

Cat retirement communities: A good choice for your cat when you’re no longer able to provide care

Cat retirement communities are a good choice for your cat when you're no longer able to provide care. While the ...
Read More
Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

Leave a Comment

Recent Posts

Convenience euthanasia of pets is in breach of a veterinarian’s oath

Dr John Bradshaw writing on the Psychology Today website stated, "Or even (as does happen)…

28 mins ago

Spaying and neutering is ethical while declawing is not

Sometimes I see the argument that cat declawing is no different from de-sexing; the spaying…

4 hours ago

Persian and Siamese cats rated better pets than non-pedigree cats

This is an interesting study (Turner 1995a) which compared the general interaction between cat guardians…

10 hours ago

Roadside zoo “Wildlife in Need” – further court injunction stopping big cat abuse

Tim Stark owns a controversial Indiana roadside zoo called "Wildlife in Need" (an ironic name…

12 hours ago

Do tigers fight each other?

Yes, sometimes tigers do fight each other at times of flux and tension. The most…

1 day ago

Stranger in Japan ate cat food for two months without realising it!

This is an amusing story from in which a person honestly admits his or…

1 day ago