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Lancaster County cat needs votes to win Pets of Valor award

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Taz, a six-year-old Tabby from Lancaster County, isn’t your ordinary cat. In fact, he’s up for a national award for saving his owners’ lives.

Taz is one of five finalists, the only cat among four dogs, in the Pets of Valor contest sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States.

His lifesaving act happened early in the morning on January 4, 2012, after a fire broke out at Kathy Rinehart’s Manor Township home.

“It was about three o’clock in the morning, and everybody was asleep,” Rinehart said. “And he just started doing this horrific cry that was never heard before.”

Taz’s cries were enough to wake up Rinehart’s fiance John Scheffler. The house had smoke detectors, but the batteries were dead. Scheffler, Rinehart, her daughter and nine pets got out safely.

“You hear on TV, about dogs saving people, or doing something,” she said. “But a cat, I’ve never heard of a cat really doing anything.”

The award comes with more than just fame. If Taz gets the most online votes, the Humane League of Lancaster County will get 500 pounds of food.

The shelter fostered Taz and Rinehart’s other cats while she waited for her home to be rebuilt.

“I’m really hoping by getting it out there, he’ll be able to help them for what they did for him,” Rinehart said.

You can help Taz win by voting for him here.

Voting ends on Friday at 5 p.m.