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"Tara" the hero cat video goes viral

John Blackstone reports on the cat that's become an internet star
Cat who saves young boy from dog attack and becomes viral video star 02:34

A family cat is a hero and a viral Internet sensation after saving her boy from a dog attack.

Jeremy Triantafilo, 4, was riding his bike in his family's driveway in Bakersfield, Calif. when a neighborhood dog, described as a Labrador and chow mix, came from behind and bit down on his leg.

The dog was violently pulling Jeremy down his driveway when his kitty, Tara, bolted to the rescue. Tara plowed into the much-larger dog and chased it away.

Tara the cat has become a global celebrity after her heroics saving Jeremy Triantafolo, 4, of Bakersfield Calif. en KBAK

"Tara is my hero," Jeremy said Wednesday afternoon. He's wounded and has stitches for the dog bites, but he's without major injuries.

People across the country have shared in the cat's heroics after her owner, Roger Triantafilo, posted household surveillance video of the attack and rescue on YouTube Wednesday morning, and by the end of the day it had already racked up nearly 4.5 million views. The video has been featured on websites across the globe, including the BBC in England.

The family said they've had Tara for five or six years, after she followed the mother and father home.

After Tuesday's attack, police said the boy's mother tried to chase the dog off of their property, and she was attacked, too. She was not hurt.

Screen grab shows the family cat "Tara" after it drove away a neighbor's dog, at left, which had bit a small boy in Bakersfield, Calif. YouTube

Bakersfield police public information officer Sgt. Joe Grubbs told CBS Bakersfield he spent a good deal of the day fielding calls from media outlets all over the country.

"I've had calls literally from all over North America. I don't think Mexico, but I have had at least one from Canada and then all over the U.S.," said Grubbs.

Police also released the 911 call immediately after the attack in which a woman's voice asks for assistance. The call appears to have been made by the owner of the dog.

"My dog bite a kid, he's right here next to him," the caller told the 911 operator.

The dog's owner later turned it over to city animal control officials. The dog will be in a 10-day quarantine and then euthanized, police said.

"I've seen a lot of comments today from cat lovers going, 'Yeah! Cats! I told you!' It's kind of empowering for cats," said Courtney Clerico. She is a volunteer with The Cat People, a nonprofit group started in Bakersfield in 1990 that advocates for the proper treatment of domestic and feral cats.

Dogs are usually the animals considered to be the loyal protectors who put their lives on the line for their masters. Clerico notes that cats have been been doing the same for humans, and also help other animals.

"Cats have woken up family members when their owner is having a seizure, and it saved their life, because they got to the hospital," said Clerico. "There's many accounts of cats waking up their families in the case of a house burning down."

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