Oreo the cat is down to just eight lives after rescuing his "big sister" from a deadly predator.
The fierce feline was raised by 10-year-old Jaiden Peterson from Orlando, Florida since he was a kitten. That gave the pair an unbreakable bond, and the cat is so close with Jaiden that her family used to call her Oreo's "big sister." But from now on, they're calling Oreo her guardian angel.
"It's not just Jaiden that has such a strong bond, although she is the closest," her grandmother Cyndi Anderson told LoveMeow. "It's the whole family. He seems to watch over everyone in strange, inexplicable ways, including the eleven-month-old human sister. He seems to be wise beyond his years."
She also describes him as "loyal beyond loyal," explaining that Oreo never lets Jaiden or her siblings out of his sight, and that he even sleeps next to her at night. In fact, Oreo is more like a guard dog than a pet cat, and that came in handy when an eastern diamondback rattlesnake crept up on Jaiden.
The young girl was playing outside with her siblings when she noticed Oreo was acting strange. That's when her beloved pet stepped between her and the snake.
Once the kids realized there was a rattlesnake in the yard, they rushed back inside the house.
Meanwhile, Oreo stayed outside, defending them from the snake. He managed to fend off the reptile, but not before it bit him on the leg. Soon Oreo's leg was swollen, and Jaiden's family worried he would lose it, or worse.
"Our biggest fear was he went downhill quick and we were afraid we were going to lose him," Anderson explained. Thankfully, the family rushed Oreo to a nearby veterinary hospital very quickly.
Oreo's leg was healed, and vet Dana Lowe says with more treatment it will be back to normal soon. But he won't forget Oreo's heroic story, which he calls "very unusual."
"It's not quite as common with cats," he says about rattlesnake bites. "We do see it with dogs a little more often that get bit."
Little Jaiden is just happy to have her guardian angel back at home, and it seems she realizes just how close she came to losing him for good.
"Sweet Jaiden was asked what she wanted for Christmas this year," said family friend Marie Braithwaite, "and she stated that all she wants is things for her kitty to be happy and healthy."
Share this brave cat's story with someone you know!