Glen Schallman knew that Blake, a black kitten he took home from the Humane Society of North Texas in January, was special.
"This little boy and I bonded," Schallman told The Huffington Post. "He was meowing, trying to get the [shelter worker’s] attention, like, 'get me out of here!'"
But Schallman, who has a rare brain condition that causes seizures, didn’t know that Blake would save his life within days of his adoption.
“I’ve had seizures since I was about 5 years old,” Schallman said, explaining that seizures in his sleep can cause him to stop breathing. He’s woken up choking before, but fears such a seizure could result in his not waking up at all.
Just a couple of days after adopting Blake, Schallman had a seizure while he was sleeping, and awoke to Blake sharply biting his toe.
If Blake hadn’t bitten him, Schallman said, “I probably would not have woken up.”
But before you write off Blake’s toe-bite as just playful feline antics -- after all, cats love to bite people’s toes -- note that Blake had already proven himself to be especially sensitive to Blake’s condition.
When Schallman had smaller seizures, he said, “[Blake would] start patting me on my arm,” giving Schallman a look that seemed like, “Are you OK?”
And Blake’s not the first feline to have this kind of connection with Schallman. Fourteen years ago, he adopted another black cat named Boo Boo Kitty. Like Blake, Boo Boo demonstrated an uncanny ability to detect a seizure coming on shortly after she came home with Schallman.
“Boo Boo would take her paw to my carotid artery … she would nudge me to go down to the ground,” he said.
He still has Boo Boo, though her sister, Mew Mew -- who had similar abilities, he said -- died recently.
Schallman’s beloved pets aren’t the first cats to reportedly detect seizures. In 2012, a cat named Pudding noticed new owner suffering a diabetic seizure in her sleep and clawed at her face, waking the woman for long enough to call for help.
Also on HuffPost: