Cat alerts owner to burning slow cooker while supposed guard dog dozes

Blog Post created by lking Employee on May 11, 2020

As if there were any doubt that cats rule, a rescue named Joey woke his sleeping owners and alerted them to a malfunctioning slow cooker – while the family dog slept.


According to CBC News, the family in the Newfoundland town Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s was rustled from sleep by Joey, at about 4:30 a.m. on April 30.



“He was standing on my chest,” owner Scott White told the Toronto Sun. (Joey had been adopted in Toronto in 2017 and then moved with the family to Newfoundland.)


 “He had his paw on my cheek, desperately trying to wake me up,” White said.


 “As soon as I awoke and I could smell the burning dinner from the kitchen, it didn’t take long to get out of bed.”

 The source of Joey’s anxiety was a slow cooker. White found a “haze” in the kitchen, and immediately turned off the appliance and opened a window.


While slow cookers – or crock pots – are meant to operate for several hours at a time, manufacturers, and NFPA, recommend that users observe several safety steps, which you can find in NFPA Educational Messages, Chapter 8, page 17 (s.8.7 Portable Cooking Equipment Safety):


  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions on how and where to use a slow cooker. Most manufacturers recommend keeping at least six inches (15 centimetres) of clearance around the appliance.
  • Keep things that could catch fire away from the slow cooker.
  • Inspect the cord to the slow cooker to be sure that it has not been damaged. Do not use any appliance with a damaged cord.
  • Make sure the slow cooker is in a place where it won’t get bumped. If the lid gets dislodged, the liquid could boil away, the appliance could overheat, and a fire could occur.


Several manufacturers recommend placing slow cookers on hard surfaces such as tile or ceramic rather than wooden butcher-block type counters and making sure the appliance is on low if cooking for eight hours or longer.


In addition, working smoke alarms on every level of the home provide early detection and will ensure residents are alerted to smoke or fire. For peace of mind, use appliances such as slow cookers, clothes dryers and dishwashers only while someone is home, awake and alert. 


Meanwhile, the White family puppy – which is just 10 months old – has some guard-dog training to do!


NFPA offers safety tips on myriad topics. Visit Follow us on Twitter at @nfpa, @Sparky_Fire_Dog and, in Canada, @LauraKingNFPA.