Sunday 25 August 2019

UK’s finest felines to be honoured at National Cat awards

Fifteen cats have been shortlisted in the awards, organised by Cats Protection.

By Megan Baynes, PA

Fifteen of the UK’s finest felines have been announced as finalists in the National Cat Awards.

From cats who have helped children face major challenges, to those who have saved lives in medical emergencies, the finalists are all in the running to be named Cats Protection’s national cat of the year 2019.

Winners will be selected in five categories — hero cat, most caring, furr-ever friends, outstanding rescue cat and Purina better together — before one is crowned cat of the year.

Finalists include 18-month-old Chi, who helps her owner Finley Black, who has autism and sensory processing disorder, cope with the challenges of everyday life.

Mum Jo, 35, said: “Finley can experience a great deal of social anxiety, stress and isolation. He frequently finds the world overwhelming.

“Chi calms him when he’s over-stimulated and gives him a listening ear when no-one else understands his unique mind. When he wants to hide from the world, she’ll stay with him and be that connection he needs until he’s ready to emerge.”

Also up for an award is nine-year-old Walter who warns his owner, Hazel Parkyn, when she is going to suffer from a potentially life-threatening hypoglyccemic attack in her sleep.

Hazel, 48, said: “Walter can sense when this is about to happen and will repeatedly pat me on the face until I wake. He won’t stop until I’ve woken, he really is very persistent. He’ll then sit with me while I get my sugar levels back to normal.”

Herman, from Buxton, has been nominated as most caring cat after helping his owner cope after parents died just a day apart.

Claire Yates, 42, said: “I was walking around in a daze, trying to organise a joint funeral and sort everything out. Herman would help me with these tasks.

“As I sat at the kitchen table making the necessary phone calls, Herman would sit with me with this intense look on his face and I only had to look into his eyes to feel a sense of calm.”

A star team category will also celebrate the achievements of volunteers from the charity.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at London’s Savoy, an event attended by celebrities including entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, former England goalkeeper David Seaman and his wife, Dancing on Ice star Frankie Seaman.

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 200,000 cats and kittens each year through its national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 36 centres.

Each category winner will receive a trophy, a £100 pet store voucher, a year’s subscription to Cats Protection’s The Cat magazine and a three-month supply of cat food.

PA Media

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