A cat's tale: Rescued tabby returns the favor

Black cats crossing a path may be bad luck for some, but for Haley Rios it was a sign of good luck. Blackie — known as Haley's cat now — wandered into the Rios' home in October of last year and never left. “We had to nurse him with a bottle because he was so small when he showed up and he had no fur on him,” said Haley's mother, Stephanie Rios. On Oct. 26, Blackie prevented a possible tragedy. Stephanie went into Haley's room as usual to wake her up for school, but it turned out it wasn't just any ordinary morning. “She (Haley) told me Blackie had kept her up all night by hitting the bottom of her bed, but she didn't know why,” Stephanie said. After numerous failed attempts to get the cat out from under the bed, Stephanie decided to lift the covers and check under the bed. Against the wall, coiled up and striking at the cat, was a foot-and-a-half long rattlesnake.“We heard the hissing sound and I went to go get my dad, but he wasn't able to get it because it was already mad from Blackie messing with him all night. My dad called the police and kept an eye on it until the police showed up,” Haley said. “The police officers were able to get the snake, put it in a bag and then took it outside and killed it.”She continued, “I was really frightened.”Stephanie said while the family waited on the police to arrive they were able to get Blackie out from under the bed and as soon as he was away the snake began crawling up the wall next to Haley's bed. “If Blackie wouldn't have been there during the night keeping the snake down, it would have easily crawled into her bed,” Stephanie said. “He truly is my hero. He saved me,” Haley said about Blackie with a big smile on her face.