'Moggy midwife' wins cat honour
A cat that became a "moggy midwife" when his pregnant owner went into labour has been named Rescue Cat of the Year 2010 in the UK's feline Oscars.
Marmite was awarded top honours at this year's Rescue Cat Awards, organised by the charity Cats Protection, after providing invaluable support to owner Lindsey Davies, 21, when she started having contractions while home alone last October.
Loyal Marmite stayed by Ms Davies's side for two hours until husband Huw, 25, arrived home, helping keep the mother-to-be calm and relaxed as the contractions became more painful.
The one-year-old pet was honoured at a ceremony at the New London Theatre in the West End attended by celebrity judges including comedian Iain Lee, actress Lesley Joseph, TV vet Emma Milne and children's TV presenter Sarah-Jane Honeywell.
Runners-up included Oscar, a former stray who has transformed the lives of elderly people at a care home; Bobby, who has an amazing ability to help his disabled owner recover from trance-like states; and Purrdy, a rescue cat who survived horrific abuse from an unscrupulous breeder.
Marmite's owners, who live in Fareham, Hampshire, said not only was he an incredible birth partner, he was also a vital support to Ms Davies during a difficult pregnancy, much of which she spent housebound while suffering the painful condition pre-eclampsia.
Fortunately, baby Ruby was born safe and well and now Marmite is just as protective of the new arrival, keeping a watchful eye over the baby and alerting her mother whenever she cries.
Ms Davies said: "As the contractions got stronger, Marmite stayed with me as my very supportive birth partner until Huw arrived home. He rubbed up against me and purred affectionately which helped to distract me from the labour pains. He never once left my side and that was so reassuring.
"When I brought Ruby home, Marmite was thrilled to meet her - he is always guarding her and when she is crying he will even find me and miaow to let me know. I honestly don't think I would have coped without him. Our family just wouldn't be complete without Marmite and Ruby adores him as much as we do. He really is a hero, one very special cat."
Marmite scooped the overall Rescue Cat of the Year title after winning the Most Incredible Story category of the Rescue Cat Awards, sponsored by Purina Petcare.