Some people may think that cats are only good for looking pretty and hanging out in bodegas, but it's not true! There are some heroic pussies out there doing their darndest to save the humans from themselves—and that includes Nino, a 4-year-old black cat who alerted his owner to a fire going on in their Manhattan building this week. “I feel like he saved my life,” Claudia D’Argenio told the News.

Nino, who was a stray picked up by Animal Care and Control on the border of Brooklyn and Queens, was taken off the euthanasia list thanks to City Critters, who then hooked him up with foster mom D'Argenio. "He was super shy to begin with, but once we placed him in foster home with Claudia, he blossomed," Jordana Serebrenik, foster care coordinator for City Critters, told us. "He's scared of new people, but he was really sweet with her."

Serebrenik explained what happened last Wednesday in D'Argenio's Murray Hill apartment building: "Basically, he's a very quiet well-mannered cat. That afternoon he started meowing incessantly. At first she ignored him, but then realized it was so unusual. She went her to look out the door, and her neighbors apartment was on fire." The fire alarms hadn't gone off at that point; D'Argenio called 911, the fire was contained to that one apartment, and no one was injured.

Serebrenik noted it is often hard to adopt black cats, because some view them as bad luck: "He was spectacualrly good luck," she said. "He's just wonderful cat, and the fact that he's a black cat doesn't mean he's evil. He's the sweetest thing with a real great sense about him to alert her." Nino is still up for adoption—if you're interested in doing so, contact City Critters at

And if you'd like to get involved more, City Critters are always looking for more foster homes. "The biggest obstacle when people ask for help is where to physically place the animals," Serebrenik said. The group, which has been open since 1994, is 100% volunteer, with no paid staff and no physical shelter—animals that come in board at various foster homes.

They also have two adoption centers on weekends: the Petco at 2nd Avenue and 31st Street (staff there every weekend from 12-6 p.m., also by appointment) and at Petsmart at 632 Broadway, between Bleeker and Houston Street (weekends 1-6 p.m., also by appointment).