Heroic Cat Takes Down Venomous Snake
EDITOR”S NOTE: This story originally appeared in The Hinton News on June 16, 2021. It is just a great little story about families, and the affection we have for all of their members, as told in a fun and loving way by our very own Becca Stalnaker.
– Matthew Young
A furry, four-legged Hinton resident named Tigger recently saved his human from a venomous snake bite. According to Tracey Wilson, Tigger’s human, he is a voracious hunter and has killed snakes before. However, in previous instances, it had never involved one of the reptiles striking at her. It is not just snakes that Tigger likes to hunt, but many other small animals such as rodents as well. Wilson said, “He hunts snakes and anything else he can catch.” When speaking about Tigger’s hunting antics, she went on to say, “I rescued a baby weasel from him and drove it to the Environmental Rehab a few weeks ago.”
Wilson says the incident occurred in her garage where there is a gap in the bay door that allows snakes and other small animals to get in. At the time, she and Tigger were in the garage together. The snake, which Wilson believes to have been a copperhead, attempted to strike at her. Before the reptile could reach her, Tigger jumped in and grabbed the offender, effectively dispatching the threat. Wilson noted that she does not know whether Tigger (Tigs to his family) was trying to protect her or if he just saw prey to be hunted.
Regardless of whether or not the feline intended to save his human, the results remain the same. The brave hero kitty did indeed tackle a venomous snake and keep it from attacking Wilson. At some point during this incident, Tigger did receive an injury. It was at first believed that the snake most certainly had bitten him, but according to Wilson, neither she nor the vet is certain of this.
The attack happened after hours for the local vet clinic. The closest emergency clinic was over an hour away. Wilson stated that Tigger hates being confined in a car and did not think she could get him that far. After the initial incident, the cat and snake went in opposite directions, Wilson said. When she found him, he did not look well and had a wound on his face.
Not knowing what else to do, Wilson said she sat vigil with him through the night so that he would not be alone should the worst occur. When morning came and he was still hanging on, she took him to the vet straight away. There, he was put on an IV and thoroughly checked. Whether or not the wound came from the snake, one thing is clear Wilson said, he did not take any venom.
Tigger has been put on antibiotics for his wound and Wilson stated that it is helping to bring the swelling down. He is resting and recovering at home with his loving family.
Wilson said she has received an outpouring of love, support and kind words from the community via her social media posts regarding the incident. She said, “All the warm wishes for Tigs and support has been uplifting and honestly a bit overwhelming.”
When speaking about Tigger’s brave act, Wilson said, “Maybe he is a hero, we don’t know for sure, maybe he is just a cat and family to those who know him as Tigs,” or as her daughter calls him, “Tiggbut.” She went on to say, “It’s more than enough for us.”
The hero cat came from humble beginnings. Before calling Wilson’s family his own, Tigger was a feral stray. The family rescued him and they have been taking care of each other ever since.
Is Tigger a hero who stepped in to protect his beloved human? Perhaps. Even if he was only trying to eliminate the snake due to his hatred of the animal, he still performed a heroic feat.
While Tigger’s story has a happy ending, not all venomous snake-versus-pet stories end well. Many pets, both cats and dogs, encounter snakes of all types, venomous and non-venomous. When a pet is bitten by a venomous snake, it is often fatal, especially depending on the exact type of snake and how quickly it can get treatment. However, according to a study from The University of Queensland, cats are more likely to survive a venomous bite than a dog.
The study, led by Ph.D. student Christina Zdenek and Associate Professor Bryan Fry, notes that “..while 31 percent of dogs survive being bitten by an eastern brown snake without antivenom, cats are twice as likely to survive – at 66 percent.” Eastern brown snakes are one of the most common venomous snakes in Australia with the study stating that they are responsible for approximately 76 percent of reported snakebites of domestic pets each year. While the type of snake involved in Tigger’s case is different, the results would be similar. The study goes on to say that the reason cats can survive venom easier than their canine counterparts is because of the speed at which both animals’ blood clots.
Remember to hug your pets a little tighter tonight in honor of Tigger’s heroic feat.