When one woman’s cat started begging to go outside again one night, she told him a firm, “No!” But the feline was being so persistent that she ended up opening her door anyway. And that’s when she realized that her perceptive pet had been trying to show her something.
Fran Swayze and her cat, Bandit, live in the city of Cleburne, Texas, at the Buena Vista Seniors Community there. Swayze had first encountered her furry friend a year before he had made his unusual night-time request, while he was at a no-kill shelter. And as soon as she laid eyes on him, she knew that Bandit was the cat for her.
“I said, ‘You’re mine,’” she told CBS Dallas/Fort Worth in June 2017. And after she had adopted him, Swayze gave Bandit the freedom of her home. However, having the opportunity to explore the extent of his owner’s abode was just not enough for this cat.
“He insists on his walks, daily,” Swayze added. Unlike many other cats, though, Bandit prefers to have company on his regular jaunts, so his owner heads out with him, too. Consequently, neighbors can often spot the unlikely pair meandering around the local area.
Most of Swayze and Bandit’s walks pass without incident, and if the cat has already been out once that day, he’s usually content to settle down for the night. But one evening in June 2017, Bandit began acting very strangely indeed.
At that time, it was 9:30 p.m. and already dark, and Swayze had already taken Bandit out for his daily dose of fresh air. In fact, she and her daughter Marilyn Gravelle – who had come to visit her mom – were preparing to retire to bed. However, the unusually frisky feline seemed keen to go outside again.
“He turns around and looks at me and goes ‘meow’ and sits down and waits for me to go to the door,” Swayze recalled to the Cleburne Times-Review in June 2017. At first, she refused to indulge Bandit’s unusual request. But he was persistent, and in the end she went to see why Bandit was so intent on going back outside.
Swayze added to the newspaper, “Bandit goes to the door and lets out a big ‘meow.’ I said, ‘No.’” She eventually relented, however, and opened the door for her pet. But what he did next was puzzling. Swayze explained, “[Instead] of him walking around the atrium like he normally does, he walked straight down [to the far end of the building.]”
Intrigued, Swayze decided to follow Bandit down the hall. And as she did so, she got the sense that he was trying to lead her somewhere. Then, without warning, Bandit shot off and stuck his head through a set of railings looking down into the atrium.
Swayze followed behind and also peered over the balcony – and what she saw came as quite a shock. Bandit had led her to a worrying scene: down below, there was a woman lying prone in a garden on the ground floor of the apartment complex.
And the woman was crying out for help, something that Swayze believes Bandit may have picked up on from within her home. “How he could hear her, I don’t know,” she admitted to CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. But thankfully he had, and Swayze could now do something to help.
The lady in question, meanwhile, was Swayze’s neighbor, Mary Baker. Baker had been out in the garden with her dachshund Sugar, as her dog had needed to do its business. And when Sugar had finished, the pair started heading back to their apartment. However, Baker never made it all the way back to her home.
Due to her diabetes, she had collapsed in the entrance hall: her blood sugar had dropped so low that she had lost consciousness. When Baker came round, though, she was relieved to see four friendly faces, including her dog and Bandit, looking down at her.
“When I came to, I could see my little dog in the grass right there coming to me,” Baker told the Cleburne Times-Review. “The next thing I know [Bandit, Swayze and Gravelle] are there and I’m saying ‘Help me, help me!’ and my dog didn’t fuss at the cat, and the cat didn’t fuss at the dog.”
But though Swayze and her daughter had called for an ambulance, Baker decided against going to the emergency room. Instead, she accepted an invite to a neighboring apartment. There, she enjoyed a glass of orange juice and recovered from her dramatic fall.
Happily, Baker sustained no major injuries from her ordeal, and she was truly thankful to have escaped the incident relatively unscathed. However, she was even more grateful that Bandit the cat had adopted the traditionally canine role of “man’s best friend” and led Swayze and her daughter to her aid.
And for Baker, the only explanation behind Bandit’s actions was that the feline had been sent from above. “God works in mysterious ways,” she told the Cleburne Times-Review. Perhaps there’s some truth to that: after all, in Bandit, Baker made a friend she could count on when she needed one the most.
Following her fall, meanwhile, Baker made the hard decision to give her beloved dog Sugar to a family friend. Understandably, she misses having the adorable dachshund around very much. But she is grateful to have her two new buddies, Swayze and Bandit, around to help fill the void.
“I’m blessed that I have good friends,” an emotional Baker said in her interview with CBS Dallas/Fort Worth, as tears filled her eyes. While speaking to the station, she also referred to her neighbors at the Buena Vista Seniors Community as her “extended family.”
As for Bandit, his life-saving skills have made him quite the celebrity in the community. However, fame has not changed the feline, who still enjoys relaxing on his balcony and taking walks with Swayze. What’s more, his owner is even considering a new name for him now. “We may have to call him Sir Bandit,” she joked, before adding that she also didn’t want “to give him a big head.”