The Belmont Fire House noticed a small orange and white kitten that was in pretty bad shape. It was so small and malnourished, as a matter-of-fact, that it wasn’t able to receive its vaccinations. The fireman brought the sickly kitten back to the station and started to nourish it back to health. The kitten took in some fried chicken and got lots of attention from the men in the firehouse. For weeks, the kitten kept getting stronger and proving to be a fighter.
It’s been two year, and Flame, as they appropriately named him, has an Instagram account where he has made quite an impression on social media. He has even been featured on a segment of the popular television animal show “My Cat From Hell.”
According to Fire Chief Anthony Segars, he came into the fire house one day and saw the guys playing with this tiny little kitten. He wasn’t accustomed to seeing a cat actually staying there, since the most animals will typically do, is come around the station for a couple days, then leave. But after a few days, this little kitten was sleeping in the bay, so he had to ask, “Why is the cat here?”
The guys told the chief, “He lives here now.”
Flame did stay and he has not only been a friend to the men who spend so many hours at the station, their home away from home, but he is also a sense of therapy for them.
Segars went on to explain how they all see a lot of disturbing things in their job. It can be tough physically and mentally and when they aren’t having a good day, Flame is there to comfort them. He hops up in their laps as if he’s telling them, “It’s ok, I’m here for you.”
It is this type of behavior and love that drove the star of the show, the cat behaviorist, Jackson Galaxy, to Greenville to meet Flame and ask him to be on the show.
“My Cat From Hell” features Galaxy helping people cope with their feline behavioral dilemmas.
Is your cat pooping outside the litter box? Is he shredding the furniture? Or maybe your friends?
Galaxy solves their issues. Though it typically involves training the people more than the cats.
And included in every show is a segment called “My Cat From Heaven” which highlights special felines and their people, like Tara, the hero cat who chased off the dog that was attacking her family’s little boy.
Flame is the latest “Cat From Heaven.”
“Everybody knows that the simple act of touching an animal brings down your heart rate and blood pressure. It seems nobody needs the benefit of this contact more than a building full of firefighters,” Galaxy told The News about why Flame was chosen for the show.
Flame Loves all the guys
Flame is totally dedicated to all the guys in the firehouse. Galaxy says it is amazing and a bit of heaven, to see so many tough guys all gathering a cat and watching them all melt when he does come around. Men are typically stereotyped as “dog” people, but this just shows, they can be cat people too.
Flame’s Instagram account has more than 200,000 followers and it has a little cat firehouse and is equipped with a fire station slide pole for his scratching post. Adorable.
The guys at the station reminisce about when the Instagram first started and all the cat lover instantly started sending supplies to the firehouse to help with faring for Flame. He go gift cards to buy food, collars, bow ties and much more. He gets even more gifts at Christmas than the firefighters, themselves. They have determined that all these cat lovers are just really generous people and really awesome.
The fans that are attracted to Flame’s Instagram account are from all over. People even stop by the station to get their picture taken with the famous firehouse cat.
Belmont station s a combo station of both volunteer and career firefighters and total about 60 people. That means that there is always someone there with Flame at the firehouse. Not only that, they all chip in to help with the cost and care of the cat and they figure that this is why Flame has not developed any favorites among the guys. He knows they are all a part of his love and care. He simply loves all the guys.
Where does Flame sleep? In and under the fire trucks. He knows that when the alarm sounds, he has to move out and away from the action. But when they men come back from their fire, there Flame is, sitting by the door, waiting for them patiently.
On the day the show was being filmed, Galaxy was excited to hear all the stories the guys had to share. He also wanted to share his own stories that were similar, including the one about Tony the cat that saved his owner from a fire 11 years after his owner saved him from being euthanized.
The adventure of caring for a feline in the firehouse was a much different kind of adventure than they are typically used to but after the men got called out to tackle a bad blaze that involved serious injury for the victims, the men returned with heavy hearts, but Flame came to their rescue to give them therapy the only way a cat knows how, with snuggles, purrs and love.
Whenever the guys are having tough days and feeling low, they know they can just scoop up Flame, take him out to a rocking chair and hold and stroke him in a way that makes both of them feel better. Segars has said that it is just amazing how Flame interacts with the men. He says it’s almost as if he just knows when the men need him that day.
Galaxy wrapped up the shooting and interview and told them that Flame certainly gives a new meaning to the idea of a working cat. It’s not always about catching mice, but it’s about unconditional love and support and all the guys have enough of that from Flame that he will be their forever firehouse cat.