Health Hero: Squibbles the Cat Calms Deadly Arrhythmia

Photo by aljabak

The Daily Medical Examiner continues its sporadic nomination of Health Heroes as well as its in-depth coverage of animals in medicine with this touching inside report about one cat’s astonishing heroism and medical prowess.

Huntsville, AL – When Madge Tuthbridge fell to the floor with crushing heart palpitations last week in her Huntsville apartment, it looked like the end of the road for her. Indeed, due to a fast arrhythmia known as SVT/AVNRT, it might have been her final tango, if not for the intrepid response of her cat – an unassuming, 8 year-old Bengal formally CFA-registered as “Captain Squibbles the Magnificent.”

Doctors were skeptical when Ms. Tuthbridge described the way that Squibbles leapt to her side and began trying to slow her heart rate with carotid artery massage while she laid on the floor. Too weak to stand, she says her vision began to grow dim, and she saw a stream of gossamer light drawing her out of this world.

“But Squibbles wasn’t ready to let me go,” she said, tears gathering in her eyes.

After nearly a minute and a half of unsuccessful carotid massage, Squibbles’ uncanny instincts led him to the nearby dining table, where he pushed a 1-gallon pitcher of iced tea across her face. As the diving reflex stunned her heart back into a normal rhythm, Tuthbridge’s sight grew just strong enough to see Captain Quibbles trip the apartment fire-alarm, bringing much-needed emergency services to the building.

“Squibbles probably didn’t need us, cause he’d already done the hard work,” said Emergency Medical Technician Jack Smith. “That’s some cat. I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see that sweet tea all over the carpet. It’s going to be hard to get that stain out.”

While family members and Ms. Tuthbridge’s cardiologist have heaped both praise and canned salmon on Captain Squibbles, he remains modest. On most days, neighborhood passersby will recognize his watchful whiskered face, gazing down from the window of her second floor apartment. Somehow, whether they see him there or not, they all feel a little safer knowing that Squibbles is near. The soft thunder of this cat’s humble bravery is what makes him…this week’s Daily Medical Examiner Health Hero.

Nominate your own fictional health heroes by commenting below or by e-mailing our Editor,


DISCLAIMER: All stories, medical reports and news entries are fictitious, created in the interest of humor. They are the ripe and sometimes rotten fruit borne from the fecund imagination of the Daily Medical Examiner creative staff and any actual relationship to events present or historical should be considered coincidental. The DME uses invented names for people, businesses, and institutions in its stories, except in cases where public figures are being satirized. Any other use of real names is coincidental.

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