Cat attacks dog, saves boy — and makes her owners famous


(The Bakersfield Californian via Newseum.)

Tara the cat has made her owners famous.

The California family whose surveillance video captured Tara’s heroism landed on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday morning.

If you somehow haven’t seen the amazing footage of Tara warding off a vicious attack on a 4-year-old boy by a neighbor’s dog, it’s worth a few minutes of your time.

Jeremy Triantafilo was riding his bicycle in front of his family’s Bakersfield home when a neighbor’s dog — a Labrador-Chow mix — came around a parked car, grabbed Jeremy’s leg and violently dragged the boy from the bike. Before Jeremy’s mother could even respond to her son’s screams, the family’s house cat, Tara, came running to the rescue and chased the dog away.

“It’s honestly just a blur, I just remember hearing [Jeremy] and next thing I know I see my cat flying out of nowhere onto this dog and just remember trying to get to my son and get the dog away, back to its yard and away from both of us which it was trying to attack,” Erica Triantafilo said on “Today.”

“It was pretty amazing to see just a cat take on a dog and so selflessly just put herself out there and not worry about if she was going to get bit or injured herself, and … I think that dog just really did not even know what hit him,” added Jeremy’s dad, Roger Triantafilo.

The intense (and viral) fascination with this story can probably be attributed to the belief (encapsulated by the rampant popularity of cat memes on the Internet) that the animals are always about their own business, and inherently unconcerned with their human owners. Tara turns that narrative on its head:

Savannah Guthrie: You guys have had this cat for about six years now, had you ever seen this side of her personality? I mean, does she have a lion complex?

Erica Triantafilo: Every once in a while she puts our dog back into her place, but for the most part she’s just the most mellow cat you’ve ever met.

Jeremy had to get stitches, but the family told “Today” that he’s doing well and resting up (he caught up on some sleep during the NBC interview as well). The cat meowed her way through the initial part of the interview and ditched the family about halfway through the Q&A.

As for the dog, he is in quarantine. The owners can rehabilitate him; failing which, he will be put to sleep, Erica Triantafilo said on the show.

Watch the full interview:

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IMPORTANT UPDATE! Tara the hero cat is going to “throw” out the first pitch at a minor league baseball game. No runs, no hiss, no errors, etc.

Abby Phillip is a general assignment national reporter for the Washington Post. She can be reached at abby.phillip@washpost.com. On Twitter: @abbydphillip
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