Tara The Cat Received A "Hero Dog" Award For Saving A Child From A Dog Attack And Winning Our Hearts In The Process

Having grown up around cats my whole life, I've always been a little baffled by the perception that they're evil masterminds waiting on their opportunity to pounce, both literally and figuratively. Anything that can spend three hours chasing after a laser pointer is hardly in possession of a criminal mind, but if you need further proof they can be just as loyal and brave as dogs, let me introduce you to Tara, the cat who received the annual "Hero Dog" award from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles.

The award is typically given to a dog, but the spcaLA made an exception for Tara after the family cat was recorded defending her 4-year-old owner from a neighbor's dog attack, KTLA reports. Security footage shows Jeremy Triantafilo riding his tricycle in the driveway when a dog suddenly rushes out from behind an SUV and drags him off the bike. Before the boy's mother can even react, Tara leaps onto the dog and forces him off of Triantafilo, then runs him out of the yard. Luckily, the boy received only minor injuries, which his father attributes to Tara's intervention.

After video of the attack was posted online, the fearless cat became something of a local celebrity in her hometown of Bakersfield, California. "My Cat Saved My Son" has been viewed more than 24 million times, and Tara the Hero Cat, as she became known, has "thrown" (a.k.a. lazily swatted) the first pitch at a baseball game, dropped the puck at a hockey game, and even has a Facebook page with 43 million likes.

Now, a year after she rose to Internet Cat stardom, she is being officially recognized for her heroism. "We were so impressed by Tara’s bravery and fast action that the selection committee decided that a cat this spectacular should be the National Hero Dog," spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein said.

In addition to the honor of beating out an entire nation of canine competition, Tara will receive a year's supply of free food, and I think we can all agree that's the best prize anyone possibly could hope for.