Bengal Manor Cattery



Snake In, Snake Out

In late August the Oklahoma heat can be stifling, and such was the case on that fateful Saturday in the summer of 2003. Squirt, who on hot days rarely stirs from her sleeping spot in the middle of the bed, and Amber were the only cats inside. Amber lay in the hallway by the front door, not to far from one of two air-conditioning vents in the living floor.

I was doing light chores but every time I passed by the bed, I toyed with the thought of joining Squirt for a nap. I promised myself if I completed a few more tasks, I would give in to temptation. I went back to the kitchen to do the breakfast dishes.

Several moments later I heard the squeaking of the hanging flap over the cat’s door in the bedroom window as someone came in from the heat. By the sound of the heavy thud that followed I knew it was Big Bob. Thinking he’d probably like a drink of fresh, cold water I returned to the bedroom, and started toward the bathroom where I have an extra bowl of water set out. I found Bob lying in the floor next to a pile laundry I’d separated earlier that day, planning to wash in the evening hours after it had cooled down. He was laying with his front legs splayed wide apart and with his chest purposefully pressed down on the floor. From past experience, I knew he was laying on something, holding it captive beneath his body while he cooled off. Warily, I asked, “What have you got this time, another lizard?” At that moment, the pile of laundry next to him sifted a bit, I cautiously took one step back, “Booooooooooob?”

Hi!Bob stood up and the three and a half foot, neon green, pencil-thin garden snake, whose body had been partially hidden under Bob and the pile of laundry sped off under the desk in the bedroom while I ran screeching into the kitchen. Bob thought it wise to run back out the window, followed by his, now wide awake and terrified, Mother.

Meanwhile, I’m having a coronary. I glanced around the kitchen, looking for something to use against the snake, which was rapidly making it’s way into the kitchen. That was all she wrote.... I ran into the living room screeching...”Oh no, oh no, oh no.”

Amber, who had undoubtedly been woken from her nap by my first shriek, and who is rarely startled by anything that goes on in our house, got up, stretched and looked at me as if to ask, “Have you lost your mind, or what?”

A faint glimmer of hope rose up out of my panic and pointing toward the kitchen, I whimpered, “Snake.” Rolling her eyes as she passed me, as if to say, “Oh for crying out loud,” Amber trotted across the living room floor, picking up speed as she entered the kitchen and spied the intruder. Without breaking stride she moved over to the snake, who was now under the kitchen table, scooped him up almost exactly in the center of his body, and continued down the hall to the bedroom. Silently praying, I followed. I entered the bedroom just in time to see the two ends of the snake disappear out the cat door. Overwhelmed with relief, I sat on the edge of the bed to try and calm my frazzled nerves.

Seconds later, I became concerned for Amber’s safety. What if the snake bit her on the face or something? Out the front door I went. It took only a moment to find her laying in the shade, lazily batting at the snake as he tried to escape. Coaxing her to me, I picked her up and after showering her with tons of kisses, brought her back inside.

Bob received a good scolding and for the next week Amber was treated like a queen. I baked a chicken for her and gave her Chicken of the Sea tuna on a couple of occasions. To this day, I am eternally grateful that she took pity on me in my crazed state and turned a desperate situation into a comical tale.

My Amber has taken very good care of me over the years, and as she ages, I intend to return the favor tenfold.



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