Surveillance video of a protective cat running off a dog who was attacking a little boy is going viral — and the cat is being hailed as a hero.

Erika Triantafilo told 23ABC news station in Bakersfield, California, that she was watering a tree nearby when she heard her 4-year-old son screaming. The neighbors' dog had escaped their gated driveway and was attacking Jeremy, who has mild autism. 

In the video below, which Triantafilo posted to YouTube, you can see the family cat's, Tara, running at the dog and chasing it away. 

Graphic imagery warning: After the surveillance camera footage ends at 0:44, the video shows graphic, up-close images of the dog bites on the boy's leg.

Triantafilo told the news station that her son needed a few stitches but is recovering — and that the attack could have been much worse.

Jeremy is one of the 4.5 million Americans who are bitten by a dog each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the bites that require medical attention, half happen to children.

For more information on statistics and how to prevent dog bites, check out these articles: