Puddles is a sleek, grey cat. He is beautiful, and he seems to know it, too.
Puddles enjoys walking around with a look of pride, slowly, smoothly. Sometimes we like to call him “King Puddles”. He is the one who gets the top roost on the cat tree. He is the one who makes sure the other kitties know if they are being “naughty”—or more likely, if they are being annoying to Puddles.
He likes to cuddle—but he loves to play!
When Puddles is not strolling around the house or resting in one of his favorite spots, he is likely to be after something. Now, it seems he does not care too much just what that something is. The only requirement is that it look interesting or annoying for now.
Puddles has been known to shred foam toys, entire rolls of toilet paper, and stuffed animals. He has been suspect in opening a baby-proof bottle of vitamins. (The whole kitty crew was there enjoying the dangerous feast, and the lid of the glass jar had good, deep bite marks all in it—somehow, someone got it off!)
Not all of Puddles’s “prey” is of the not-living sort, though.
I have told you about his joy in chasing his brothers and his daddy. He also likes to chase little creatures. Flies were once on his menu—my daughter appreciated that one, as Puddles is her cat. She was not so pleased when he brought his offering of a freshly killed bird into our house, though. And many a lizard has probably lost his tail or his fragile life as a result of Mr. Puddles, the Hunter.
This week, Puddles found a new fascination.
The people were all inside the house enjoying the peaceful summer day, when we heard an odd noise outside. If you are familiar with the sound of cicadas, it was quite similar—but different. It was kind of a scratchy, almost high-pitched rattle, you might say. A really fast rattle—nearly a buzz.
And it was very loud.
Somebody said, “Rattlesnake!”
Of course, if it was close enough to our home for us all to be able to clearly hear it inside, it must be close! Everybody went to the closest window, only to discover the shivering tail up on the little hill just outside our back door, with a very curious…yes, you guessed it—Puddles checking out his newest form of prey.
Immediately, the wildness started. “Pu-u-ud-l-les,” my daughter sweetly called. Puddles was not interested. The agitation of the snake grew. “Puddles!” She tried a more demanding approach.
“Throw something at him!” I directed the children, who were standing at the open door by this time. They started throwing everything throwable at the hill, first behind the cat to try to get his attention in a better direction. He was still intent on the snake.
The other three cats were scattered around the hill, watching this odd display from a safe distance.
Finally, something startled Puddles enough that he ran off a couple feet from the rattlesnake. We tried shaking the cat food—nope, not interested.
The snake was clearly getting more angry. He was slithering now where we could see him a bit better. His tail was shivering wildly. The buzz was obviously not a happy sound.
“Puddles!” my daughter called again. We were silently praying for the poor kitty. Rattlesnakes can kill kitties. Finally, something was thrown that landed hard enough between the kitty and the rattlesnake to make Puddles run. He was safe.
As we pondered what to do about the snake just behind our home, my husband drove up. He was with another firefighter in the chief’s truck, on their way to a special training out of town, but he was stopping by to grab something before he left. God takes care of us!
My husband got his rifle and killed the deadly snake with one shot. The snake was much bigger than we thought—well over a foot long, maybe close to two, and nearly an inch and a half thick.
The excitement was over; we were all a bit shaken up, but thankful that Puddles was safe. We were also thankful it was the kitty and not our baby that found the snake!
You may have noticed though, that the title of this story is “Puddles and the Rattlesnakes”—not “Puddles and the Rattlesnake”.
Just two days later, my children were taking a bucket of compost out to the compost pile and guess who they found playing with a rattlesnake! None other than the infamous Puddles!
This was a baby rattler, who apparently thought playing “dead” was his best form of defense. My sixteen-year-old son hissed “Psst!” at the cat. Since he was much closer this time, it was easier to scare him away. My little daughter ran to tell us there was a rattlesnake.
Soon, my older daughter was there to guard the snake and watch her cat.
It did not take long for Puddles to be sneaking up on the snake again. This time, though, his annoyance with the other cats came in handy.
His daddy, Sherbert, interested in Puddles’s catch, was also sneaking up on the snake, but from a different direction. The cats caught sight of each other and that was the end of the snake-chase—now it was a cat chase, as they went to wrestle each other instead.
This time, it was my turn to kill the snake. I prayed for courage and safety and went to chop off his deadly head.
Do you think Puddles will be playing with snakes again? There is probably a pretty good chance, isn’t there? Even though we know better and tell him so.
It makes me think of our Heavenly Father watching over us.
A lot of times He knows things are not safe for us to play with: lying, stealing, unkind or foolish movies, and so many other deadly sins. They may look interesting at first, like the buzzing thing on the hill did to Puddles. But God knows better. He knows that thing will hurt us—it will finally kill us if we get too close.
So He calls out to us.
We don’t hear loud yelling like Puddles did. Instead we hear a soft voice in our minds, saying “This is not good.” And just like we tried to call Puddles with his food, God asks us to read His word, to feed our hearts what is good.
If the gentle ways don’t work, God will try stronger things, too—kind of like when we started throwing things at the cat to save him from real danger. God will let us have troubles, hoping we will finally look to Him and run from sin.
The best thing is for us to turn to God first, to read His word—the Bible—every day, to know that sin is sin—and to stay away! And we can be happy because one day soon, just like those rattlesnakes are destroyed, sin will be destroyed and God has promised that when He does that, it will never hurt us again!