Rattlesnake attacks woman's cat in Clairemont

Posted at 10:06 PM, Jun 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-01 01:06:02-04

First it was 12-year-old Baja.

Then a few days ago, her cat Mow Mow's face swelled up.

 At a home in Clairemont, Hailey Jessen is reeling from not one, but two possible rattlesnake bites in a span of weeks.

Two days ago, 3-year-old Mow Mow – an indoor/outdoor cat – jumped over the fence.

“My dad came out here to the garden, got a better look at him and his face was totally swollen," said Jessen.

Jessen rushed him to the vet, who determined the cat had been bitten by a baby rattlesnake on the nose.

The first doses of antivenin didn't take.

The final one did.

“It was terrifying and overwhelming, definitely overwhelmed,” said Jessen.

It is overwhelming for Jessen because she is still grieving the loss of her beloved dog, 12-year-old Baja.

About a month ago, Jessen let Baja out into the backyard to go to the bathroom.

Ten minutes later, Baja returned with a swollen leg.

An hour later, Baja stopped breathing.

Though Jessen couldn't afford a necropsy, the symptoms pointed to something venomous.

Experts say this summer could be a big snake seasons due to El Nino rains greening the landscape, feeding rodents and other food sources.    

“I feel like it used to be my safe haven, my happy place," said Jessen of her yard. "Now I'm on edge."

 A Gofundme campaign has been set up to help with Mow Mow’s vet bill.