Dec. 1 (UPI) -- A Florida family is praising their pet cat for leaping into action to save their kids from a rattlesnake that slithered into their yard.
The Peterson family said the eastern diamondback rattlesnake turned up last weekend in the yard of their home in Lake County, and Oreo the cat put himself in between the venomous serpent and the children fleeing inside.
Oreo fought the snake and ended up driving it away, but not before taking a bite from the predator's fangs.
"To be honest with you, I think he was protecting the people of the home because that's just the kind of cat he is," grandmother Cyndi Anderson told WKMG-TV.
Jaiden Peterson, 10, said his family has had Oreo for about a year.
"He got bit by a snake," Peterson said. "His leg was swollen. It was like his whole entire leg from here and there, and he was bleeding."
The family rushed Oreo to the Animal Clinic of Leesburg, where he was treated by veterinarian Amy Huff.
"Our biggest fear was he went downhill quick and we were afraid we were going to lose him," Anderson said.
Veterinary technician Dana Lowe said quick treatment is crucial for a rattlesnake bite.
"If they don't get the proper care and the proper treatment, it could be fatal for them," he said.
Lowe said it was an unusual case.
"Very unusual," Lowe said. "It's not quite as common with cats. We do see it with dogs a little more often that get bit."
A California family said in October that their dog underwent emergency treatment after rescuing a 10-year-old from a rattlesnake in a similar attack.
The dog, Nala, survived a bite to her nose after getting emergency treatment, and Oreo is also now on the road to recovery.
The Petersons said Oreo will have to wear some bandages for a few weeks and is being kept inside for the time being, but he is recovering from the ordeal.
"He's a little protector," Jaiden Peterson said.
The Laguna Vista Police Department in Texas shared the story of a similarly brave cat in April when a feline was photographed staring down an aggressively-poised rattlesnake in the middle of a trail. The snake was captured by police and the "fearless cat" escaped unscathed.