Brian Young says his hungry cat is to thank for preventing him from falling into deep sleep ahead of house fire. (CBC)

A former Nova Scotia politician is crediting his cat with getting him out of bed before a fire raced through his home.

Brian Young says his cat Berkeley woke him up around 5 a.m. Monday, mewing to be fed and let outside.

Young says he fed the eight-year-old tabby, let him out and returned to bed where he drifted off to sleep.

He awoke to a whooshing sound of flames and the crackling of burning floorboards about an hour or so later.

Young says he rushed his wife and son out of their North Sydney home while calling 911 and before the fast-moving fire destroyed part of the house.

Berkeley took off after the fire but has since returned and is being cared for by a neighbour until the family determines what will happen to their home.

Young says getting up to feed Berkeley prevented him from falling back into a deep sleep.