A cat owner who suffered a heart attack in her sleep believed her pet saved her life by pounding his paws on her chest.
Sam Felstead was woken by her seven-year-old cat Billy in the early hours of August 8, and realised she was unable to move her body and had a shooting pain down her right side.
The 42-year-old, a receptionist at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham, was rushed to hospital by her mum Karen and doctors told her she had suffered a heart attack in her sleep.
Sam, from Stapleford, Nottingham believed her cat’s swift actions saved her life.
“I was a bit shocked, I went to bed and I felt fine. I’d even been out with the dogs and I didn’t feel ill or have any pains whatsoever,” she said.
“Suddenly I woke up in the early hours covered in sweat and couldn’t move. Billy was on my chest and was meowing loudly in my ear hole.
“He was really meowing. He doesn’t do that normally, he sleeps all day and all night, that’s his life. He wouldn’t leave me. He’s not a lap cat. He’s not a light cat either and he’s certainly not a cat that wants to be on your knee all the time. He likes to be alone.
“He’s never woken me up in the night before, he never bothers you. He doesn’t wake you up for food. He’s normally all my mum, he loves her and doesn’t bother with me.
“Mum was quite shocked. I told her he woke me up and she was even more shocked. You don’t hear about it with cats. I’m just glad he woke me up. Who knows if I would have got up without him, it could’ve been worse for me.”
Sam and her mum, who she lives with, phoned 999 but were told she would have to wait two hours for an ambulance to arrive.
Karen drove Sam to the Queen’s Medical Centre where doctors said she had suffered a mild heart attack.
Sam added: “I was wet through with sweat and had really bad back pain and my right side felt really heavy and strange. I couldn’t move it. I couldn’t stand up either and it was very dizzy when I got up.
“We rang 999 but they said there would be a two-hour wait for an ambulance so my mum took me. We went off to hospital. They sorted me after a while and they sent over to city hospital.
“They found one of my arteries was blocked which caused the heart attack. They looked after me ever so well, so that was quite nice, I have a lot of medication to take for life and I have to take it easy for six weeks.
“It’s just sitting and doing nothing. I’m trying to get out and do slow walks. I had to have a balloon in my artery to open it back up again.”
Sam spent three days in hospital before being discharged and was reunited with her beloved Billy, a British short-hair.
She added: “When I came home at first he wasn’t bothered, he completely ignored me. He’s just the same now, I just try to give me a bit more love.
“I’m grateful towards him as I didn’t know if I’d have woken up. My alarm was for another two hours so who knows if I would have woken up.
“The doctors said it was a good job I got to hospital in time. I do think he saved my life and so does everybody else around me.”
Cat behaviour expert Lucy Hoile said Billy may have picked up on physiological changes in Sam.
She said: “It could be that the fact he jumped on her and was meowing was a sign of his anxiety.
“I do believe he probably did save her life, because that’s what enabled her to get medical help, but I wouldn’t go down the route of saying he did it on purpose. It was him reacting to the situation.”