A line-up of fabulous felines has been introduced as finalists on this yr’s National Cat Awards, the UK’s celebration of all the pieces we love about cats.
From fun-loving felines who assist youngsters face main challenges, to caring cats who present consolation in instances of want, the marvellous moggies are all within the working to be named Cats Protection’s National Cat of the Year 2021.
This yr’s prime cat will observe within the pawprints of earlier winner Jeffree, a life-changing moggy from Coventry who helped teenager Finn Hackeson, who has Asperger syndrome, address the demise of his father.
The finalists on this yr’s Awards embody:
- Paddy, the ginger puss who spends his days comforting mourners at a burial floor earlier than returning every night to his house owners.
- Minty, a three-legged cat who’s a finest buddy to a six-year-old boy with extreme studying difficulties and a variety of medical circumstances.
- Bruno, who was discovered deserted in a cardboard field by a grieving couple and helped them address ache of shedding their new-born daughter.
Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards, organised by the UK’s largest cat charity and sponsored by Purina, is often an annual celebration of cats. With final yr’s occasion postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this yr’s awards might be hosted on-line.
Winners in three classes might be chosen by movie star judges – comic Bob Mortimer, funnyman Russell Kane and actress Tuppence Middleton, whereas the fourth class might be introduced by entrepreneur Deborah Meaden following a public vote.
After class winners are introduced on-line on Thursday 5 August, an total winner might be chosen as National Cat of the Year by a celeb panel and introduced on Thursday 12 August.
Awards organiser Kate Bunting stated: “Now greater than ever, the nation’s pet cats play a vastly essential position within the lives of their house owners – whether or not it’s offering a soothing presence in worrying instances, companionship for individuals dwelling or working alone, or a enjoyable and caring playmate for youngsters. We are completely delighted to be returning with the National Cat Awards this yr so we will share a few of these inspirational, heart-warming and wonderful tales from the cat world.”
Winners in 4 classes – Most Caring Cat, Furr-ever Friends, Outstanding Rescue Cat and Purina Better Together – will obtain a trophy, a £100 pet retailer voucher, a yr’s subscription to Cats Protection’s The Cat journal and a 3 months’ provide of Purina cat meals.
Calum Macrae, Regional Director UK & Ireland at Purina, stated: “The National Cat Awards is a superb celebration of all the pieces we love about cats, specifically shining a highlight on the unimaginable bond that may exist between pets and house owners. At Purina, we’re obsessed with enriching the lives of pets and the individuals who love them, so we’re thrilled to assist the National Cat Awards as soon as once more this yr.
“All the finalists are really inspiring and go to point out the vastly constructive affect cats can have on individuals’s lives, for all kinds of causes. It’s no marvel that cats have earned a particular place in our hearts and houses.
For a full checklist of class finalists, please see under.
Doris – Newport, Wales
Brave eight-year-old Delilah has confronted extra challenges in her quick life than most individuals will of their whole lives. Diagnosed with leukaemia in January 2018, little Delilah has endured two-and-a-half years of gruelling chemotherapy, fought off a number of debilitating infections and spent massive chunks of time in hospital. Throughout all of it, there’s been one buddy who has saved Delilah’s spirits up – Doris. When the ache was insufferable, and the emotional toll of shedding her hair or lacking out on pals’ birthday events was an excessive amount of, it was Doris who helped brighten Delilah’s days. Always joyful to affix in a teddy bear’s tea occasion or to cuddle up for a narrative, Doris has introduced enjoyable and laughter into Delilah’s life when she couldn’t depart the home. And it’s not simply Delilah that Doris has helped – she’s supplied consolation and companionship for older brother Dylan, 14, and helped him address the affect of his sister’s remedy. Over two years after her prognosis, Delilah is near finishing her ultimate spherical of remedy and is wanting ahead to getting again to high school and main a standard life.
Minty – Holywell, Flintshire
For six-year-old Connor Raven and mum Siobhan Cobb, on a regular basis life can really feel like a problem. Connor has extreme studying difficulties and a variety of medical circumstances, together with ataxic cerebral palsy, which have an effect on his bodily, psychological and emotional growth. Fortunately, Connor has the absolute best remedy at his facet – his much-loved cat Minty. When the world will get an excessive amount of and Connor suffers an emotional meltdown, Minty is all the time first on the scene, rubbing his face on Connor’s hand and serving to to quickly calm him. Minty helps Connor address each side of each day life – from protecting him settled at meal-times to offering a soothing presence at bedtime. Remarkably, Minty – who solely has three legs after being hit by a automobile – even helped Connor be taught to climb the steps. Mum Siobhan explains: “Minty would spend hours leaping one step at a time, stopping to permit Connor to catch up. It was unimaginable to witness him patiently encourage Connor to attain one thing he discovered so tough. Connor will be very loud, and his medical circumstances imply he’s very wobbly and clumsy. Many pets would understandably maintain their distance, however not Minty – when Connor is at his most in want, Minty is there like a shot.”
Simba – Colne, Lancashire
When vet apply supervisor Liz heard a few tiny stray kitten introduced in with horrific accidents, she didn’t hesitate to supply him a house. Having sustained a damaged jaw, hip and pelvis – presumably after being hit by a automobile – little Simba was at was nursed again from demise’s door. Per week later – and coincidentally on son Ben’s Moulding’s sixteenth birthday – Liz took Simba dwelling to proceed his restoration. But the household’s preliminary pleasure over the brand new addition was minimize quick when Liz’s husband Paul – Ben’s stepdad – was admitted to hospital with issues following most cancers remedy. As the household’s world crumbled and Liz spent every day at her husband’s bedside, teenager Ben was left at dwelling with Simba. Over the next weeks, the tiny kitten was to change into all the pieces to Ben – one thing to look after, a buddy in the course of the lonely days and a ray of sunshine in moments of misery. Tragically, Paul died eight weeks later. In the darkest of days, Simba got here to imply greater than ever to Ben as he struggled to deal with shedding his stepdad. Liz stated: “Simba had a troublesome begin in life, however has turned out to be the soppiest cat I’ve ever recognized. He’s so affectionate, and in the course of the hardest of instances I knew Ben was not alone as Simba was all the time by his facet. I don’t know the way we’d have gotten by all the pieces with out Simba.” Nearly two years on, Ben is finding out economics at college.
Most Caring Cat
Penelope – Salisbury, Wiltshire
Everyday life is unpredictable, painful and scary for Zoe, 28, who suffers from a variety of complicated medical points together with craniocervical instability and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome. The circumstances imply Zoe is barely in a position to maintain her head up, is vulnerable to breaking or dislocating bones and suffers terrifying seizures with out warning. Thankfully, assistance is at hand within the type of loving puss Penelope, who senses when Zoe is about to have a seizure and raises the alarm. Zoe defined: “My seizures typically come at evening after I’m in mattress and might typically depart me with accidents. But Penelope sleeps with me, and when a seizure is about to begin she’s going to run and entice my mum’s consideration so she will be able to come and assist me. She’s not likely a vocal cat at another time, the one time she meows is to get mum mum’s consideration.” After a seizure, Zoe will be left feeling weak and traumatised, however Penelope will sit together with her to offer a comforting presence whereas she recovers.
Paddy – Wirral, Cheshire
Comforting grieving households on one of the tough days of their lives is all in a day’s work for Paddy. For the previous few years, the 10-year-old puss has been making each day journeys to the Co-op Funeralcare’s Mayfields Remembrance Park, a brief stroll from his dwelling. Once there, Paddy spends his days offering a soothing presence to mourners earlier than returning dwelling to his house owners every night. If requested by grieving kinfolk, Paddy will attend providers – typically deciding on the entrance row – or sit alongside households as they pay their ultimate respects open air, all the time available with a comforting purr. Owner Stuart defined: “The burial floor is a few five-minute stroll, and Paddy will head off there most days after his breakfast. He’s a really calm and mild cat, and we’ve heard pretty tales of how him being there has helped individuals cope throughout a tough day. He’s very dedicated to his day job, and typically if it’s 6pm and he’s not dwelling I’ll leap within the automobile and drive all the way down to the burial floor. I open the automobile door and name his identify and he’ll come working and leap in, able to go dwelling for his tea.”
Weasley and Jinx – St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex
For employees at Southdowns Nursing Home, brother-and-sister duo Weasley and Jinx are a part of the group. For residents, they’re a part of the household. The loving pair arrived on the dwelling in the summertime of 2019 and since then have gone onto have an enormous impact of the lives of residents on the dwelling, which cares for individuals with a wide range of bodily and/or psychological well being wants, together with dementia. From curling up on laps for a comforting cuddle to entertaining all with their playful antics, the cats are a part of each day life. Having the cats round has helped carry again joyful reminiscences for some residents, whereas others with communication difficulties could communicate solely to speak about their feline pals. But it’s not simply the nice days the place the cats are there with a serving to paw. Staff have been touched to note how Jinx appears to sense when a resident could also be nearing the top of life, selecting to remain by their facet throughout their ultimate hours. Associate Practitioner Darren Fouracre stated “It’s extremely transferring and exceptionally comforting. The cats are there within the good instances and unhealthy, all the time bringing a smile to everybody. They are beloved by residents and employees alike, and we’d not be with out them.”
Purina Better Together
Boris – Blackheath, London
Boris had all the time been a much-loved pet for Alex Tullis and his daughter Caroline. But when Alex, 80, suffered a catastrophic stroke in 2015, it was Boris that saved him going. Desperately ailing in intensive care, Alex would speak about Boris, and it grew to become clear to nurses that he was decided to beat the challenges to return dwelling. After three months in hospital, and though nonetheless severely disabled, Alex was overjoyed to be discharged and reunited with Boris. But simply 4 months later, the household had been dealt one other blow when Boris suffered an enormous head damage after being hit by a automobile. Clinging to life, Alex and Caroline knew they needed to give Boris an opportunity, and he acquired specialist veterinary remedy. Although he misplaced a watch and developed epilepsy, Boris made an excellent restoration and was quickly again dwelling with Alex and Caroline. Caroline stated: “Dad is now confined to mattress, and Boris is great firm for him. He supplies a lot consolation and companionship and brings nice pleasure into Dad’s life. Boris has all the time been there for Dad, so when he was in want we didn’t hesitate to offer him all of the care he wanted to get higher. They make a fantastic pair, and it’s pretty to see them collectively.”
Bruno – Leeds, West Yorkshire
Caroline and Damon Green had been going by essentially the most insufferable time of their lives after their child daughter Freyja died at simply five-days-old, following issues at start. As the couple started the painful activity of studying to reside with their grief, they discovered hope in essentially the most sudden of locations – a cardboard field dumped close to their dwelling, containing 4 tiny kittens. Taking the kittens dwelling, the couple nursed them to full well being, a course of which in flip helped them address the ache of shedding their daughter. Caroline, 32, stated: “We had loads of love to offer, and the kittens gave us one thing to concentrate on and look after. Looking again now, they had been simply what we wanted to assist us cope. Caring for them took the sting off the ache and introduced a ray of sunshine into some very onerous days.” When the kittens had been sufficiently old, the couple rehomed three of them however determined to maintain Bruno. Caroline added: “Bruno was the one that basically struggled with confidence and was very afraid. We needed to do numerous work to socialize him and in consequence I obtained very near him. When the time got here, I knew I couldn’t be parted with him, so we saved him.”
Dixie – Mallorca, Spain
When Erin discovered an deserted cat on the streets, she knew she couldn’t flip her again. Naming him Dixie, Erin gave him a house, loads of TLC and a second likelihood in life. Soon after, and as Dixie settled in, Erin was overjoyed to search out she was pregnant. But tragically, almost midway into the being pregnant, she misplaced her child. The loss was devastating, and with numerous family and friends members welcoming new infants, Erin started to really feel more and more alone in her grief. Falling into melancholy, Erin struggled to see a future and commenced shutting herself away. A transfer to Scotland was meant to be a recent begin, however as an alternative grew to become extra isolating. Some time after transferring, Dixie was to endure horrible accidents in a suspected highway accident and wanted to have a leg amputated. Seeing her beloved pet in such ache, Erin immediately discovered a brand new goal in life – serving to Dixie recuperate and alter to life on three legs. She stated: “It was a horrible time, after all, nevertheless it made me realise that all through all of the robust instances, Dixie had been there for me. I knew it was my flip to be there for him. It was sufficient to make me search assist to tug me out of my melancholy, and slowly we started to heal collectively.”
Outstanding Rescue Cat
Mikey – Southend-on-Sea, Hampshire
Jessica’s complete world crumbled round her in July 2017 when her first youngster, a child boy, was stillborn. With associate Connor required to return to his Army posting shortly after, Jessica started to close herself off from household and pals. While the grief was insufferable, Jessica was additionally struggling bodily and wanted hospital remedy for hypertension. Out of the blue, a buddy telephoned and talked about a former stray cat in want of a house. Jessica didn’t hesitate, and took Mikey in. Life on the streets had been onerous for Mikey and he had wanted a watch eliminated after growing a painful abscess. Immediately, Jessica and Mikey shaped a detailed bond, and as Jessica helped to nurse Mikey again to full power, he started to assist ease the ache of grief. With Mikey by her facet to look after, the darkness started to carry and Jessica began to enterprise out of the home. Jessica’s counsellor observed how a lot calmer and extra in a position to communicate she’d change into, serving to her get extra out of the periods. Four years on, and whereas her first son will all the time be beloved and remembered, Jessica and Connor now have one other addition to their household – a son named Jenson.
Nala – Seaham, County Durham
Teenager Olivia Usher was simply 17 when she hit all-time low. Years of psychological well being points had culminated in a prognosis of psychosis, with Olivia laid low with hallucinations and destructive ideas. The traumatic signs grew to become insufferable and through her lowest level, Olivia tried to take her life. Desperate to assist, a buddy advised adopting a pet, prompting Olivia and her dad to make a journey to a neighborhood rescue centre. There she met Nala, an eight-month-old kitten who had been deserted on the streets. The bond was fast, and Olivia couldn’t maintain again the tears as she realised she’d met her finest buddy. Within days of Nala’s arrival, Olivia started to take the primary steps in the direction of restoration. Intuitive Nala would start to sense when Olivia was struggling a psychotic episode – when she could change into consumed with destructive ideas and concepts – and assist pull her again to actuality. Olivia defined: “When I’ve an episode, I lose grip of what’s actual, however Nala will come and nuzzle as much as me. It helps carry me again and remind me what’s actual. The really feel of her fur and the sound of her purr helps to calm me and produce me again.” Now three years on, Olivia has gone from power to power and is now finding out pc science at college.
Tobi – Shanklin, Isle of Wight
When tiny kitten Tobi got here into Misha’s life when she was 10-years-old, he was the glimmer of hope she wanted. During a traumatic childhood, Misha suffered critical psychological well being points, tried suicide and was taken into foster care at 15. Throughout all of it, it was Tobi who grew to become her rock – a buddy she might all the time rely upon regardless of how tough life was. Having insisted on protecting Tobi in foster care, Misha clung to her trustworthy buddy for companionship and luxury, serving to to heal her emotional scars. With Tobi by her facet, Misha went from power to power, and the pair finally moved into a house of their very own. Now 26, Misha continues to credit score Tobi with turning her life round and helps him cope together with his personal challenges after he was identified with kidney illness in 2019. She stated: “I’m now an grownup and to today Tobi has been my rock, finest buddy and soul mate as a result of I do know for certain I’d by no means have made it this far with out him. Now Tobi has been identified with kidney illness, it’s my flip to be sturdy for him, and it breaks my coronary heart. Every Christmas and birthday are a blessing and I’m grateful day by day for the love, friendship and safety he has given me for many of my life. He gave me the unconditional love, consolation and affection that I wanted as just a little woman.”