The first time I saw a cobra was when my parents were watching a nature program on television (it was the early 1970’s, so it was likely Wild Kingdom). I was five years old and utterly terrified.
That night that I had my first nightmare involving a cobra.
The dream started in the middle of my coming upon the cobra, who then lunges toward me to bite my arm. Just as the cobra made contact with my arm, I woke up screaming.
I would have this horrific recurring dream for nearly forty years, often during times of stress.
While the settings varied, it was always the same cobra. It was my cat, Seven, who helped me overcome this life-long terror.
I adopted Seven from the ASPCA shelter in Manhattan on July 2, 2005. I vividly remember the first time I saw her: I was in the Cat Sanctuary interacting with several cats when she walked by to jump up on the window. I picked her up and she made this adorable little sound not unlike the one made by the infamous Tribbles from Star Trek (I would later find out this sound was called trilling; here is a video of another cat doing it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nq1MUWeGdsY).
I fell in love! I unfortunately couldn’t bring her home that day and had to wait two days while the ASPCA checked my references. There was no guarantee that she would be there when I returned. Thankfully she was!
Seven isn’t my first pet or my first cat. However, she is the first pet I have ever adopted who I had no prior knowledge regarding where her life started. All I know is that she was pregnant when she was brought in and that the veterinarians had to give her a Caesarean section (she still had the scar when I brought her home). I remember meeting some really young kittens in a separate part of the Cat Sanctuary and later realized they must have been hers (they were Tabbies and Seven has Tabby markings).
I bonded with her immediately— as did her companion, Rigatony (my black cat who was born in August of 2000). I never get tired of watching her and petting her and simply spending time with her. She has this amazingly strong female energy. She has truly captured my imagination and has even been the subject of my art. She makes me smile every single day and I can’t imagine my life without her. I know that my time with her and Rigatony is limited, so I treasure them both very much.
About six years ago, I started having that same nightmare with the cobra, but something was different: this time the cobra was going after Seven. I remember feeling that fear, but when he made his move to bite Seven, I blocked him and took the bite. I didn’t wake up screaming and in fact banged my arm into a wall trying to crush the cobra. I woke up when he sank his fangs into me even deeper, but did not scream. It was the last time I ever had that dream.
I realized that love is stronger than fear.
Thank you my dearest Seven for saving me from that cobra by letting me love you.