Annette Shanahan of Reedsburg, Wisconsin, told Madison.com this week that around 1 a.m. on Feb. 4, she felt weak, ill and disoriented and wandered out of bed, collapsing into a chair in the bedroom.
Her husband, Kevin, said he would have slept through it if it weren’t for the family cat, Gracie.
”All of the sudden Gracie, I heard she was pounding, knocking, knocking, knocking at the door,” he told local news channel WREG. “And so I got out of bed and to stop her from pounding at the door, and I looked to my left and Annette was there in the chair.”
Gracie doesn’t usually try to get into the bedroom, so the pounding was out of the ordinary for her, the couple said.
They were barely able to call 911 to tell them they couldn’t breathe. When help arrived, firefighters discovered deadly carbon monoxide levels in their home, which was later attributed to a hot water heater malfunction.
They both credit Gracie with saving their lives.
“Without her obviously we wouldn’t be here,” Annette Shanahan told.
Katy Nelson, a veterinarian who hosts The Pet Show with Dr. Katy, told HuffPost that carbon monoxide will affect a cat much faster than a larger human. That means that Gracie was likely in a better ventilated spot, or in a room with better air quality, when the incident happened.
“The symptoms of [carbon monoxide] poisoning in animals is similar to that of people, and as small as the kitty is, she should’ve definitely been affected by it sooner, so I have to believe she was somewhere with better ventilated air,” Nelson said in an email.
Luckily, Gracie — as well as the Shanahans’ other two cats — also survived the carbon monoxide leak unharmed.