A Nose for Trouble Ringo the Tabby Saves His Family
R ay and Carol Steiner found Ringo, a red tabby Manx, living in a shed when he was 10 days old. Despite already having three cats, the couple decided to open their hearts to the friendly feline — a decision that would one day save their lives. Years after adopting Ringo, Ray and Carol began to oversleep and experience high blood pressure, dizziness, and headaches. The couple attributed these troubling symptoms to their recent health problems — Ray had just undergone heart surgery, and Carol was recovering from a car accident with her leg in a cast. But Ringo realized something was amiss.
One blistering day in August, the usually mellow cat caused a ruckus. He meowed loudly and banged his body against the front door. Carol let him dart outside, but the moment she closed the door, Ringo began to aggressively meow again. This was unusual behavior, and Carol realized Ringo wanted her to follow him. The red tabby brought Carol around to the side of the house, where large bushes hid the air conditioner and gas and water meters. Ringo started to dig in the jagged lava-rock landscaping, cutting his paws on the sharp stones. When Carol leaned over to get a better look, she was nearly overwhelmed by the smell of natural gas.
levels of gas into the Steiners’ house. A single spark outdoors could have set off an explosion that would have consumed six other houses, potentially killing 22 people. Ray and Carol’s doctor told them that even if they avoided an explosion, they would have died from methane poisoning if they’d been exposed much longer. The gas meter did not register the leak, but Ringo did. Once they aired out their home, the Steiners’ health improved immensely. Because of his dedication to his family, Ringo became the 11th cat in history to be awarded the American Humane Association’s national William O. Stillman Award for bravery.
The gas company discovered an old steel coupler had broken open, leaking dangerous
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