Pet Scoop: Mama Cat and Kittens Saved From Fire, Service Dogs Help Owners With Dementia

July 17, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.

A Willoughby, Ohio, firefighter holds a box with kittens who were saved from a fire.
A Willoughby, Ohio, firefighter holds a box with kittens who were saved from a fire.

Cat Gives Birth During Fire

Firefighters in Willoughby, Ohio, are being recognized for their work in saving a cat who was giving birth to two kittens while a fire blazed in an apartment building last week. PETA is honoring the firefighters with the Compassionate Fire Department Award because they took the time to rescue the cat and her kittens, as well as another adult cat, from a smoke-filled apartment while also evacuating many human residents of the building. PETA is also offering to pay for spay or neuter surgeries for all four of the cats. The cats’ owner says the kittens will be put up for adoption. — Read it at PETA and at Ohio’s WKYC

Distemper Hits Big Cats at Texas Sanctuary

Abrams, a 9-year-old male tiger, died Monday of canine distemper at the In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center in Wylie, Texas. His death comes a week after a lioness and another male tiger died at the sanctuary. Two more big cats are in critical condition in isolation at the center, and 22 others have been diagnosed with the virus since June. Officials believe the virus was brought in from raccoons who walk on top of the cats’ cages. The infected cats are being given antibiotics and extra vitamins to boost their immune systems. — Read it at the Dallas Morning News

Sharks Feast on Fat After Long Trips

A new study shows that great white sharks feed ravenously on fat after they’ve made a long journey. The research shows the importance of established shark feeding grounds. They fill up on fatty foods, such as blubber from whales or elephant seals, after long distance migrations that can cover close to 2,500 miles. “We know from researchers observing white sharks feeding on whale carcasses that one shark can eat more than 30 kg (66 pounds) of blubber in a single feeding,” said lead author Gen Del Raye. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. — Read it at Discovery News

Kaspa has been trained to help his owner with early-stage dementia.
Kaspa has been trained to help his owner with early-stage dementia.

“Dementia Dogs” Start Work

Some of the first dogs who’ve been specially trained to help people with early-stage dementia have started work in Scotland. Oscar, a Golden Retriever, and Kaspa, a Labrador, have been helping their new owners after completing 18 months of training. The dogs will nudge their owners to go and read a reminder, wake them up in the morning or respond to alarms and retrieve medicine pouches. The dogs help take some of the burden off of caretakers, too, allowing them to leave the patient safely for short periods of time. “To some it might look like we've just got a new pet, but it's no word of lie to say we've got our life back now we have Kaspa,” said Glenys Will, whose husband, Ken, has dementia. — Watch it at BBC News

Rob Lowe Helps Highlight Wildlife Rescue

The Parks and Recreation actor is no stranger to animal rescue. He takes part in an annual mass canine rescue where he helps find homes for hundreds of dogs — and he’s adopted several dogs himself. But now Lowe is turning some of his attention to marine life. He’ll be narrating a documentary web series called The Big Picture, which puts the spotlight on the rescue efforts of the Marine Mammal Center and the International Bird Rescue as part of Procter and Gamble’s Dawn Saves Wildlife campaign. The groups use Dawn dish soap to save wildlife from oil spills. — Read it at People Pets

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