"I think the Lord sent the cat to us to save my dad."

By Meghan Overdeep
October 07, 2019
Copperhead Snake
Credit: Rex Lisman/Getty Images

Jimmie Nelson always wanted an indoor cat. So, when his wife died and the 81-year-old stroke victim found himself living alone for the first time in his life, his daughter Teresa Seals knew just what to do: it was time for a cat.

Seals told WBIR-TV that she expected Shelly, the green-eyed feline she picked out from the Claiborne County Animal Shelter, simply to keep her dad company. She never thought the shelter cat would save his life.

In the 60 years he's lived there, Nelson said he's seen plenty of poisonous snakes near his house in Speedwell, Tennessee. Fortunately, they never made it inside. Until last week, that is.

In late September, Nelson recalls hearing a noise in the middle of the night. He assumed it was just Shelly playing. It wasn't until a few days later that he learned the scary truth.

"I looked under the table and there laid a snake," Nelson told WBIR-TV. And it wasn't just any snake, it was a copperhead lying dead on his kitchen floor.

"On the side of the snake's neck and head there were claw marks and one big slash, so we knew right then that the cat had definitely killed the snake and then brought it out a few days later to show it to her little dad," said Seals.

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Fortunately, Shelly was unharmed, and without her, Seals fears her dad would have been hurt.

"It was predestined for him to have this cat just to save his life," she told WBIR-TV. "I think the Lord sent the cat to us to save my dad."