Nemo, the twenty-one pound / nine-and-a-half kilogram cat belonging to Angela and Peter Papadimitriou, is best described as affectionate, loving, caring, and even pleasantly plump. But due to this cat’s tenacity on September 1, 2008, new descriptors can now be added to the list: life-saver, hero and best friend.
For years, Nemo has routinely woken Peter up for his breakfast every morning. So it was completely out of the ordinary when Nemo hopped up onto the bed in the early morning of September 1, demanding Angela’s attention. He started meowing, swatting, and snuggling incessantly into Angela. While it was no secret that Nemo loved his cuddles, it was obvious through the urgency of his meowing and nudging that he wanted to be noticed. Even after Angela woke up to see what was wrong and gave Nemo some attention he seemingly desired, he did not settle down. Nemo kept on meowing and nothing seemed to calm him.
Angela rolled over to see if her husband, Peter, had an opinion regarding Nemo’s odd behaviour. Angela was sure he also had to find the cat’s ruckus as irritating as she did. Angela turned to Peter and called his name a few times, but he did not respond. Next, she rolled him over and shook him lightly to wake him up, but he didn’t move. Finally, Angela checked Peter’s pulse and felt his chest. That’s when she realized he wasn’t breathing and he didn’t have a heart beat.
Panic-stricken, Angela jumped from the bed and tried to contact her neighbour. When they didn’t respond, she called 911 as quickly as she could. She told them about the emergency and they dispatched an ambulance immediately, telling her to begin CPR. Paramedics arrived at her home within minutes and were quickly at Peter’s side. Using a defibrillator and with several attempts, the paramedics thankfully had Peter’s heart beating again. They then lifted him carefully onto a stretcher and brought him immediately to the hospital.
Shortly after this terrifying incident unfolded, Peter received heart surgery and has since returned home to recuperate. Today he is in stable condition. Had Nemo not sensed that something was wrong and been persistent in his behaviour to wake Angela when he did, she would not have noticed that her husband’s heart had stopped beating until perhaps it was too late. An outcome that is unfathomable for Angela to even consider.
There’s no question in the Papadimitriou’s mind that Nemo saved Peter’s life that day. And while always a very special cat, he now has an extra special place in both of their hearts. In Angela’s words, “not only is Nemo my best buddy, he is also my hero!”