August 25, 1997

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Cat risks nine lives to save owner

By ANTHONY BREZNICAN

The Associated Press

PITTSBUGH (AP) -- Kyle Leibach's cat saved his life but nearly lost all nine of her own when she woke him in the middle of the night three months ago before a fire consumed his apartment.

Now Leibach says the feline he discovered wandering along a Pittsburgh street a year ago is getting some much-deserved attention.

Dolores, a 1-year-old Abyssinian, was awarded the American Humane Association's national William O. Stillman Award for bravery Wednesday.

Leibach, accepted the honors for the cat who alerted him to the fire by jumping on his head and scratched his face May 10th.

Dolores had to be rescuitated after inhaling too much smoke suring the fire, and battled a resulting lung infection weeks afterward.

''I will always be thankful to her because she saved my life,'' he said.

''I get her whatever the most expensive cat food is at the store. The other day, I even gave her some catnip, which I usually don't do. I treat her like she's part of my family. She's my baby.''

Dolores, who has also been diagnosed with feline leukemia recently, clung tightly to his shoulder during the ceremony.