Family Cat Saves Boy From Vicious Dog Attack

A tabby cat has been hailed a hero by her owners after saving their four-year-old son from a vicious dog attack.

Tara's bravery was captured on a home CCTV system and quickly went viral when the footage was posted on the internet.

Some viewers questioned whether she had put the title "man's best friend" in contention after sprinting to defend Jeremy Triantafilo from a dog much larger than herself.

The little boy was riding his bicycle in front of his home in Bakersfield, California, when a neighbour's dog appeared to stalk him.

The animal ran up from behind and attacked him, leaving a deep leg wound, which needed 10 stitches.

Out of nowhere, Tara flew at the dog and sent it running off down the road.

She then returned to the injured boy.

Jeremy's mother Erica was watering a tree at the time and saw Tara fly past and launch herself at the dog.

"I remember her hitting the dog," she said.

"But seeing the video and seeing exactly what she did and chased that dog away ... seeing her turn to check on Jeremy then returning to him. She is my hero."

Her husband Roger, who posted the video on the web, added: "The police officer and I both commented on like wow, we've never seen a cat do that before."

He said Tara had been with the family for six years.

"She followed us home from the park when Erica and I were dating. I said if she follows us all the way home we can keep her," he said.

"She earned her salmon for the year - for life!"

Police said the dog would be quarantined for 10 days and then put down.