WILLIAMSPORT -- Tiger has earned a permanent spot on the couch.
The cat, who was dropped off at the farm of Rod and Michelle Ramsey, paid his owners back by saving their lives last week.
Carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless toxic gas, was filling their home.
Rod and Michelle had headaches. All they wanted to do was sleep.
Tiger wouldn't let them.
"He was in the house," Michelle said. "He's a very vocal cat and started going crazy. He was begging me to let him outside."
While she was up, Michelle called the vet about Babes, another cat. As Michelle described how she and Rod were feeling, the veterinary assistant, Julie Higgins, figured out what was going on.
"She asked if we had turned on our furnace. It all clicked for her," Michelle said. "She said we had a gas leak. She demanded we get out of the house."
Rod had started their furnace the day before. The Ramseys called the Johnsville Fire Department.
"The next thing you know, it was like half of Mount Gilead was here," Rod said.
Even as they were being put in an ambulance, the Ramseys still didn't think anything was seriously wrong.
"We actually thought we had food poisoning," Rod said. "We had some spaghetti that was about a week and a half old."
On the ride to the hospital, they realized the gravity of the situation.
"The paramedics said they didn't know how we were alive, let alone stayed awake," Rod said.
The Ramseys were flown by medical helicopter to The Ohio State University Medical Center.
"They gave us twice the amount of oxygen they normally give people," Rod said.
After a few hours, the Ramseys were approved for release. They have used the near-tragedy as a warning to family members to get carbon monoxide detectors. A week after the incident, which happened a day after their 11th anniversary, the Ramseys can joke about it.
"I tell everybody I got us helicopter rides for our anniversary," Rod said.
They wouldn't have had the chance without Tiger and, to a lesser extent, Babes.
The Ramseys' Morrow County residence, which used to belong to Michelle's grandparents, has become something of a haven for abandoned cats. The Ramseys have 19. Michelle picked Babes as a birthday present, but the rest of the cats found them.
"About the time the economy crashed, we had about eight show up," Michelle said.
They are not looking to take on any more; all the cats are spayed or neutered.
Only four cats, including Babes, stay inside.
"Everybody else comes in and visits and goes back out," Michelle said.
Tiger is welcome anytime.
"All the cats get plenty of attention, but he's been getting a little more," Rod said.
By: Mark Caudill/ News Journal
Gannett/Mansfield New Journal