She screamed, “Bandit!” But right when she opened the door, the cat raced outside into the darkness. She rushed after him hearing his persistent cries that became fainter. Then she saw it. She was panic-stricken but managed to dial 911, hoping it wasn’t too late.
Fran Swayze lives in the Buena Vista Seniors Community in Cleburne, Texas, with her cat, Bandit. But Fran didn’t always have her beloved kitty by her side. But on this fateful night, she was glad she did. You see, Bandit is an extremely perceptive cat, and Fran was about to discover this wonderful quality.
The tabby tomcat lived his first year at a no-kill shelter after being picked up as a stray. When Fran first saw Bandit, she instantly knew he was the one for her. She needed a companion, so she completed all the necessary adoption paperwork and took him home the same day. She had no idea that Bandit would repay her in the most shocking way.
Fran soon found that keeping Bandit inside her small home would not be easy. He was full of energy and wanted to roam free just like most cats do. His natural instincts called him nightly and he had to discover the sights, smells, and other cats of the neighborhood. Fran was well aware of the dangers that face cats outside, so the pair had to compromise.
Fran would accompany Bandit every evening on a walk around the neighborhood to satisfy his curiosity. When they were done walking, Bandit would be confined to the house. The chaperoned walks seemed to suit the cat just fine. After each evening walk, Bandit would curl up on the bed. But one evening everything changed.
Fran’s daughter was visiting and the two were sitting and chatting in the living room. Bandit got up from his normal sleeping place and started to act very strangely. The tabby paced in front of the door, crying incessantly. Fran found this was odd since he had already taken his daily walk around the complex. She tried to ignore him, but his loud meows were difficult to disregard.
Fran walked to the door where Bandit was making the loud ruckus and firmly told him “no.” It was already 9 p.m. and Fran wasn’t about to walk outside again in the cold. The cat sat on the floor and looked directly into her eyes and let out another loud cry. Fran had no idea there was a tragedy unfolding just a few feet from her front door.
Fran sighed, “Alright, alright!” She finally opened the door and Bandit ran off into the hallway. The blur of grey and white fur scurried quickly to the other side of the building as Fran struggled to keep up. The cat’s behavior was odd, and soon Fran would see why.
Fran called out, “Bandit?!” She started to panic as he bolted faster than ever before. She had to catch him. Fran ran to the other side of the hallway and spotted him. His head was sticking through the railings. She could see Bandit staring at something in the garden. What was he looking at?
Bandit was absolutely still as he peered into the darkness. Fran caught up with the cat, squinting to see what he was looking at. Then she saw it! She could see a heap of clothing on the grass, then she realized it was actually something… no, not something but rather someone lying there on the ground.
Fran called out for her daughter. She hurried down the stairs to see what was going on. It was an elderly woman lying in the ground in the garden. Apparently, she fell. Fran knew she was a neighbor, but what happened to her? The woman’s Dachshund put its nose on her lifeless body and let out some whimpers.
Mary Baker had been out walking her dog, Sugar, that night around the garden. Mary suffered from diabetes, and her blood sugar was dangerously low, but no one was around to help. It was too late by the time Mary realized what was happening to her.
While walking her dog, Mary lost consciousness and fell. She woke but was too weak to move her body. “When I came to, I could see my little dog in the grass right there coming to me. 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.”
As soon as they saw Mary on the ground, Fran and her daughter called for an ambulance. Mary was shaken and she knew she was in serious danger, but she declined emergency treatment. Fran and her daughter helped Mary stand up and walked her over to Fran’s home. Fran gave Mary a glass of orange juice to help her recover from the ordeal.
Fortunately, Mary didn’t have any injuries from the fall. Bandit came to her rescue at the perfect time. “How he could he hear her, I don’t know,” Fran said in an interview with CBS. “But everyone, especially Mary, is extremely grateful that he did!” She told the Cleburne Times-Review, “God works in mysterious ways.”
Fran and Mary have become close friends since the incident. Mary said with tears in her eyes, “I’m blessed that I have good friends. They are my extended family.” Now more than ever, Mary needs the support of friends. She had to make the difficult decision of rehoming her dog, Sugar because she knew she was unable to give him the care he deserved. But what about Bandit?
Everyone was touched by Mary’s story and how Bandit helped to save her. Bandit became an internet sensation with fans all over the world. Some have even given the feline the title of “Man’s Best Friend.” Fran said jokingly, “We may have to call him Sir Bandit, but I don’t want to give him a big head.”
Fran commented, “Dogs seem to get all the credit.” And it’s true that dogs tend to be the heroes in most stories about helping people. Most people believe cats are independent and show very little concern about the livelihood of humans. But Bandit’s actions prove that this isn’t always the case with felines. People of the community have been calling him “The hero of Buena Vista.”
People from all over can’t get enough of the special cat hero. One person wrote: “Not a cat lover but this one is a hero, ladies I hope you live a very long and happy life and remain friends forever, xx to Bandit xx.” Another person commented: “I’m a big dog person, but Sir Bandit is a very special cat I must say!”
All thanks to Bandit the cat, Mary was unharmed from the fall. If it weren’t for this special tabby who knows what could have happened to Mary. And the best part is Fran and Mary have a special friendship. The two visit each other every single day. Mary is eternally grateful for both Fran and Bandit. And still, to this day, Bandit is getting all the special treatment he deserves!