Amy Jung and her son Ethan had planned simply to play with the cats at the Door County Humane Society on Feb. 8, 2012.
But when she saw Pudding, a 21-pound orange and white cat on the counter, and heard that he had been in and out of the shelter for years, she knew that it was fate. She ended up adopting him and another cat named Wimsy, bringing them back with her that night.
When they got home, Jung, 36, said Pudding acted like he had always lived there.
“He just really took right over,” Jung told The Green Bay Press Gazette. “Really second nature.”
It would seem that Jung’s instinct about Pudding was right. She would soon end up owing her life to her roly-poly rescuer…and only a few hours after the adoption took place.
Jung’s Life-Threatening Seizure
Amy Jung has been diagnosed with diabetes since she was four year old. But when she went to bed around 9:30 p.m. that night, she had no idea she was about to have a serious insulin reaction.
Jung began to have a seizure, twisting and jerking in her sleep. But rather than be frightened by his new owner’s actions, Pudding appeared to recognize that something was wrong, springing into action.
The 21-pound cat planted his weight on Jung’s chest and began swatting her face and biting her nose, jostling her with his not-inconsiderable amount of weight.
“Anything he could to pull me out of it [the seizure],” Jung recalled.
It worked. Jung woke up, and recognized that she was in serious trouble. She tried calling out to Ethan in the other room, but he was fast asleep. She sank back into convulsions.
But Pudding the cat wasn’t finished yet. When Amy Jung began to have another seizure, he ran to her son’s room and jumped on his bed, waking him up long so he could call for help.
Pudding To Become Therapy Cat
Amy Jung is convinced that she would not have survived the night if Pudding hadn’t come to her rescue.
If something or someone hadn't pulled me out of that, I wouldn't be here, she told The Press Gazette.
Her doctor was inclined to agree, and urged her to keep the cat by her side in case of another attack. Pudding is now in the process of being registered as a therapy animal.
The orange and white cat has already learned to sit by Jung’s feet and meow when he senses her blood sugar is low.
Against ‘Selfish, Solitary’ Stereotype
Although cats have been known to predict their owners’ deaths, dogs are usually the ones credited with sensing impending seizures. Cats are far less likely to be trained as therapy animals.
“Dogs are very good at picking up on emotional changes and when people are depressed and inactive they are very good at comforting them in these circumstances,” animal psychologist Roger Mugford told BBC for a piece about animals that can sense illness.
“[But] cats are very much more selfish, solitary creatures.”
Nevertheless, several cats have made headlines in recent years for saving their owners. In May 2011, the Atlanta Humane Society wrote about a cat named Lilly who could predict her owner’s seizures minutes before they happened.
In July, a Pennsylvania woman was astonished to find her cat Rusty acting completely out of character, pawing at her chest and “letting out these horrible meows.”
She was unnerved enough to seek medical attention, where her doctor told her she had suffered a heart attack.
Humane Society Reacts
Carrie Counihan, Door County Humane Society executive director, believes Jung’s story. She’s known Pudding for years, and paints him as a laidback cat who would never jump on or claw at his owner.
That, for me, makes the story really stand out, she told The Press Gazette. That he was sensing something and reacting to it.
We're glad that she called us [about what happened],” Counihan added. “And that Pudding went into her family that day.”