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Black Cat Credited With Saving Owner

February 26, 2006

McKENZIE, N.D. (AP) _ Bernice McDowall says she never thought black cats were unlucky. Now her own black cat, Joey, is her hero. McDowall, 87, said she was taking a nap when Joey woke her up early Friday afternoon and probably saved her life.

``He was having a fit, running around the bedroom,″ she said.

Then she saw smoke in the bedroom, got up and saw smoke coming from the basement.

She and Joey got out safely.

Joey had found a home with the McDowalls after he was dumped off at a nearby mailbox awhile back. On Friday, he ``really came in and sent the alarm,″ Bernice said.

Later, the black cat was rolling and romping in the yard near smoldering mattresses that firefighters had dragged up from the basement while his owner stayed in the warmth of a vehicle.

Sterling Fire Chief Dwayne Frederick said firefighters contained the blaze to the basement, but there was smoke damage throughout the ranch-style home. He said the cause likely was electrical.

The McDowalls were not able to be in the house Friday night, but Cheryl McDowall, Bernice’s daughter, told firefighters they had a place to stay.

Bernice McDowall had dinner at her niece’s home. Joey was there too, walking on the piano keys. And he was scheduled to get his favorite dinner, a gravy-style canned cat food.

He would get lots of cuddling, too, Bernice McDowall said.

``He’s a real good friend,″ she said.

___

Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

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