Alberta family escapes house fire after cat wakes owner

A cat in the northwestern Alberta community of Clairmont woke its family up early Wednesday morning when it sensed something wrong in the home.

'It is the first time I've experienced a cat waking a family member up,' fire chief says

A cat notified its family of an emergency by biting the arm of its owner, alerting them to a fire underneath the house. (William Vavrek Photography)

One cat's job description: full-time feline friend, part-time smoke detector.

A family in the northwestern Alberta community of Clairmont escaped a house fire Wednesday after a cat alerted its owner to danger.

"The family cat bit the mom on the arm fairly hard and kind of woke her up to make her aware that something was not right in the home," County of Grande Prairie fire Chief Trevor Grant told CBC News Friday.

"It is the first time I've experienced a cat waking a family member up."

Firefighters got a call around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday about a house fire on 100th Avenue in Clairmont, a hamlet of 2,200 people eight kilometres north of Grande Prairie.

When they arrived, they found a family of four safe from the fire — thanks in part to their feline friend.

This cat, rescued from the house in Clairmont, was not the one that alerted its family of the fire. (William Vavrek Photography)

Fire crews moved one more cat out of the home and made quick work of the flames, containing them to underneath the trailer.

Other than minor smoke damage, the interior of the home was unaffected. No one was injured.

Grant said a cat alerting its family of an emergency is not the preferred method of fire detection.

"We definitely prefer to have the use of smoke detectors or heat sensors within a residence," he said.

But he also said this isn't the first time he's heard of animals alerting their owners of potential dangers.

He said he's seen it before with a dog, but never a cat.

The cause of the fire is still unknown at this time.