A mother from North Battleford, Sask., mother said she could have been planning her son’s funeral if it wasn’t for the actions of the 12-year-old boy’s cat.
Last month, Dawn Peters’ son Owen had complained about stomach pain and constipation. Owen insisted he just had the flu.
Peters was recovering from pneumonia at the time and decided to stay home on April 25, while Owen and his furry friend, Ratchet, rested in bed together.
She later awoke from a nap for no apparent reason to find something strange.
“You know when you wake up and you’re so dead asleep that you don’t know where you are? That kind of sleep, that’s what I woke up from and I was like, ‘Why am I awake?'” Peters said over the phone.
“I look over and his cat is just sitting in the middle of the living room staring at me, not moving. Just staring and I’m like, ‘What the hell is going on here? Why is he looking at me?’ And I started to panic.”
She went to check on Owen while Ratchet ran with her to the bedroom but the cat just stayed in the doorway.
“So I’m like ‘that’s not good,’ the cat’s not going in the bedroom with me. So I go in, stand at the foot of the bed and ask about his pain and he’s kind of rolling around, looking really uncomfortable … indicates his lower abdomen,” Peters said.
The two went to a walk-in clinic where a doctor examined Owen and sent them to Battlefords Union Hospital.
After a CT scan was done, Peters said she was told they needed to operate to find the problem.
The seriousness of the situation really rang home for Peters when medical staff were rushing fluids into Owen prior to surgery; an operation which confirmed his appendix had burst.
She found out from the surgeon after the successful operation.
“They said that by the time they were putting the fluids in, it was a race to decide if they would kill him by sedating him or if they waited too long … ‘If you’d come in any later, we might be having a whole different conversation,’ is what the surgeon said,” Peters recalled.
Owen was kept in hospital until April 28 while medical staff monitored him closely.
Peters said doctors and nurses repeatedly asked how Owen had made it to the hospital in the nick of time.
“Everyone’s like, ‘how’d you figure it out?’ Honestly, the cat woke me up,” Peters said.
“His cat, which loves him to death, sleeps with him … they hang out in bed. [Owen] plays video games with him. That big cat loves him.”
Ratchet, who also responds to Baby, was a rescue from Mosquito, Grizzly Bear’s Head and Lean Man First Nation a couple years ago.
Today, Peters is eternally grateful to the feline for bringing Owen’s condition to her attention.
“I really, honestly believe if Baby hadn’t woke me up, I would have totally missed it. I would have just let him go to sleep and his sepsis would have taken over and I would have either found an unresponsive or a dead little boy,” Peters said.
“It freaks me out, ‘cause how does any mom reconcile the fact that she missed that because it’s easy to miss — appendixes kill every day.”
Besides all the extra attention Ratchet has been getting lately, the “hero cat” will also be treated to a feast of as much bacon as he desires.