MOSCOW–A corpulent cat from the Kaluga region of Russia is being hailed as a hero, after using her own body to shelter an abandoned infant from winter’s deep freeze.

Masha the cat – as the stray is called by the residents of the building she calls home in Obninsk – found the infant in an entryway Saturday night and climbed into the box in which the baby had been left.

One of the building’s residents heard the cat and the baby’s cries. At first, Nadezhda Makhovikova just thought she was hearing Masha in some sort of distress. “When I went down, I saw it was a baby crying,” Makhovikova told REN TV earlier this week.

Reports said the baby had been left with a pacifier, bottle and diapers, and was dressed warmly, wearing a little hat, as residents described him – though he likely would have had difficulty staying warm enough to survive a whole night in the sub-freezing temperatures in the area.

Residents called an ambulance, which whisked the baby away to a local hospital – but not before Masha would try to accompany the baby on the way.

“She was so worried about where we were taking the baby,” Vera Ivanina, a paramedic who responded, told REN TV. “She ran right behind us, meowing. She seemed quite intelligent.”

Doctors determined that the child was about 2 ½ months old, and was well-fed, clean and clothed, showing no signs of abuse or neglect – save, of course, that he had been left out in the cold to be found by a concerned cat. The child is staying at the hospital while police search for the baby’s parents.

But the humans in the story are crediting the cat for likely having kept the baby alive during the crucial hours it spent in the cold.