Tara, The Hero Cat Of Bakersfield

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Tara is a brown tabby cat that followed Erika and Roger Triantafilo home from a park about six years before the "incident" that made Tara an internet sensation. The Triantafilos made Tara part of their family.

Two years later when Erika gave birth to her firstborn, Jeremy, Tara welcomed her human "little brother", even sleeping in the baby's crib.

When young Jeremy was four years old, he was happily riding his bicycle in his front yard. The family car was parked in the driveway. Tara lounged by the side of the house while Erika watered a tree in the garden. That when "it" happened.

The next-door neighbor's dog slipped out of their gate, and hearing Jeremy on his bike on the other side of the car, the dog circled around the vehicle, approached the toddler and without warning grabbed his leg, pulling the little boy off his bike and dragging him along the ground. Jeremy screamed in pain and fear.

Suddenly, Tara, came hurdling from nowhere and launched herself at the attacking canine, knocking him off the boy. Tara then chased the dog back around the car. Once the dog was on the run, Tara returned to her little master who needed 10 stitches in his leg to close up the dog bites he suffered. It could have been so much worse had Tara not been there to intervene.

The incredible story of the hero kitty saving a little boy from a dog attack was all caught on the home's surveillance video.

Internet Stardom

Jeremy's father edited together video of the attack from several security cameras and uploaded it to YouTube where it received over 16.8 million views in the first 48 hours. Tara became an internet star. She was eventually ranked the 17th most influential cat on the internet by Friskies.

Naturally the Triantafilo family were inundated by companies wanting to sign Tara to appear in advertisements and magazine editorials. The brave kitty appeared on morning news shows including The Today Show and Good Morning America. She was even mentioned on TMZ.

The Triantafilo family set up social media accounts for their courageous feline hero including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. At one point Tara even had her own website. Merchandise was offered including T-shirts featuring Tara. Actor Ryan Gosling was photographed wearing one!

Eventually Tara was honored in many ways:

  • Tara appeared on the cover of Cat Fancy magazine.
  • The Bakersfield Board of Supervisors proclaimed June 3, 2014 "Tara the Hero Cat" Day.
  • On New Year's Day, Tara and her family rode in the Rose Parade on the Lucy Pet Foundation Paws for Life float honoring heroic animals.
  • Tara was awarded the Special Award For Cat Achievement by the Cat Video Festival.
  • Tara was awarded the Blue Tiger Award; an award previously only awarded to military service dogs.
  • Tara became the first non-human to be named the grand marshal for Bakersfield's Christmas Parade.
  • Tara "threw" out the first pitch of a home game of minor-league baseball team Bakersfield Blaze (assisted by her human family members).
  • Tara's story was featured in National Geographic Kids.
  • People magazine suggested kids should dress up as Tara for Halloween (a more original Superhero).
  • The California Senate awarded Tara with a commendation.
  • Tara visited schools encouraging kids to not bully.
  • She appeared at numerous fund-raising events for pet rescue organizations.
  • Tara became a globe-trotter. She flew to Germany for a television show appearance. and Japan, Australia and Mexico.
  • Tara met other famous internet cats including Lil Bub and  Lord Tubbington..

But perhaps the most unusual honor given to Tara occurred when the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Los Angeles gave Tara its 33rd annual Hero Dog Award. It was the first time a cat had been given the trophy which is traditionally reserved for a hero canine. There was one change on the trophy given to Tara; the word "Dog" was scratched out and the word "Cat" etched in its place.

Tara in 2022

Of course, fame does not last forever. By 2022, much of the hoopla has died down. Tara's family added twins to their tribe. Tara is now a senior citizen, but she remains as devoted to her "boys" as they are to her.

Tara will always be their hero (cat).

You can visit Tara's Facebook Page.

Tara with her two "brothers".

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