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Victoria cat wakes owner to rescue trapped friend

By Gabe Semenza
April 29, 2010 at 6:01 p.m.
Updated April 28, 2010 at 11:29 p.m.

Sweet Pants III, left, cuddles next to Billi, his feline friend. Sweet Pants III recently woke his owner up at 2 a.m. to retrieve Billi, who had been inadvertently locked in the garage for the night.

Recognize Welton's name?

Michael Welton recently stood before Victoria County commissioners to ask them to stop the animal shelter's use of carbon monoxide to kill unwanted pets. Welton claims lethal injection is a more humane way to euthanize animals.

Lassie has nothing on one Victoria cat.

Sweet Pants III, a gray and white tabby, woke his owner one night because a cat companion was in a jam.

About 2 a.m., Sweet Pants III climbed into Michael and Jeanne Welton's bed. The 2-year-old with the odd name then stepped on Michael Welton's head and patted his owner with the pads of his feet.

"That cat literally sat on my head," Welton, a Victoria real estate consultant, said. "I thought it must have been 6:30 a.m. - time to feed the cats. I got up and put my jeans on."

Sweet Pants III led Welton to the kitchen but veered for the cat door, ignoring the food his owner dropped into the dish.

The cat dashed outside and paced in front of the glass french doors. He meowed and whined, and stared inside and at his owner.

"So Michael then went outside and Sweet Pants took off quickly toward the garage, which is way in the back yard," Jeanne Welton said. "He kept looking back at Michael to make sure he was following."

Intrigued by the cat's strange behavior, Welton followed Sweet Pants III to the garage door. Here, the cat paced again, howled and meowed.

"This cat woke me up to take me out to the garage. I just couldn't believe it," Welton said.

When the pet owner opened the garage door, Billi, the family's other cat, dashed outside. The Weltons accidentally closed Billi, an 18-month-old tabby, in the garage before going to bed on this Friday night.

Billi and Sweet Pants III, who are close pals, the Weltons said, ran together back into the house to sleep.

"I have heard of cats waking up families because of a fire, but never to alert a human to help another cat," Jeanne Welton said. "Too funny. However, it shows us so much insight into the animal mind and their emotional world."

Billi was unharmed, but what about his rescuer's odd name?

After raising all female children and animals, Michael Welton finally had a male cat and the chance to pass on a meaningful name.

Welton received the nickname "JSweetPantsGoodBody III" when he was a teen, and his male cat became owner of a shortened version.

"We got Sweet Pants III from Adopt A Pet. He was the runt of the litter and had big green eyes," Welton said. "They're both good cats, but Sweet Pants sure has learned to manipulate his owners really, really well."

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