Earl Grey jumped up to the fake wood countertop. What happened next occurred in slow motion. He turned to face me, and in so doing, his tail came into contact with the flames. He did not seem to realize what was happening (it may be true after all that cats have little feeling in that extremity), but I let out a shout and lunged for him, which sent him scurrying. I grabbed his tail with my wet hands and the soap-filled sponge, and as he pulled away, the fire was extinguished. He leapt to the top of the fridge, apparently no worse for the wear, though just as started by the sudden bad smell as I was.
I approached him with a brush, as he likes to be groomed almost as much as he likes to be fed, and inspected the damage. The lucky dude only charred off some fur.
... somehow, I always thought cats were smarter, you know?