by Bethany Meissner
Mark Burger knew that there were wildfires somewhat close to his store and home in Gatlinburg, TN on Monday, November 28. However, he wasn’t worried because no evacuation alert had been sent to his mobile phone. Fortunately, Tiger, his Siamese cat knew to be worried – and to alert Mark!
According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Tiger had started out life as an abandoned kitten near Cleveland, TN. Mark’s son, Tanner, found the cat and gave him to his dad as a gift. Since then, Mark has loved Tiger and learned to pay attention to him. According to Mark, Tiger suits the stereotype of the curious cat. Mark told the Knoxville News Sentinel that Tiger “really doesn’t care about toys. He never gets bored because he’s so curious about everything around him.” Tiger’s habit of paying attention to everything around him paid off on the night of the wildfires.
That evening, the rescued cat paid back the man who had taken him in. Mark told the Knoxville News Sentinel that “Monday the fire seemed far enough away from downtown and the condos on hillsides nearby that I thought it was likely it would be contained before it threatened the city.”
Tiger knew better. A little after 8 in the evening, she started staring at the curtained windows, pacing back and forth in front of the door, and running to Mark, then racing back to the door. Mark said that he thought “an animal like a raccoon might be making Tiger nervous.” Tiger was normally calm and Mark knew not to ignore his sudden change in behavior. He decided to step outside and take a look.
What he saw startled him into action. Mark “Could see the flames all over the mountains” right across from his condo, he remembered. He immediately ran to grab his heart medicine, some shirts, and the cat who alerted him to the danger. While driving down the mountain he wondered if his home and shop would be okay.
Thankfully Mark’s home and store survived intact, although with some smoke damage that his insurance agent was working to clear. Because Tiger alerted Mark to the situation, neither of them suffered any ill effects physically from the wildfire. Mark is grateful to Tiger for noticing the danger and making sure that Mark got them safely away. “He’s a pretty great cat,” Mark told the news, and we at Halo agree 100%.
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