A serious house fire in South Otago had a fortunate outcome this week, thanks to a gutsy cat called Max.
The Affleck family were sleeping in their new home on Clyde St , Balclutha, when Max — also known as "Fat cat" — raised the alarm about 2am.
Homeowner David Affleck said Max made sure to get his attention as he slept.
"We don't know quite when [the fire] started, as he first came in for a pat about 1am.
"But about 2.10am, he started jumping on my head, which you'd soon know about.
"I thought he wanted out, but when I got up there was pretty thick smoke everywhere, so I just got everyone up quick and we all got out."
Affleck alerted the fire brigade, then he, his wife and two children watched their home burn.
"We bought it in July, did it up ourselves, then moved in about 10 days ago. It's pretty gutting when you look at it like that, but we're all alive and well."
He said the heroic Max had "shot down the road" on opening the door, and had not been seen since.
Another cat, a dog called Ginger and a turtle had all made it out safely, thanks to firefighters' quick response, he said.
"I know a few of those guys, and they're all good buggers. They did a bloody good job."
Balclutha fire chief Jason Lyall said the incident served as a reminder to check smoke alarms.