This year’s National Cat Awards were all about celebrating the incredible impact that cats can have on our lives. And this year’s 'Cat of the Year' is a life-saving moggy with an incredible story
2 August marked an important date in the cat calendar as Cats Protection hosted the 2018 National Cat Awards. As the UK’s leading feline welfare charity, helping over 200,000 cats each year, the awards are a chance to come together to celebrate the wonderfully diverse ways that cats can touch our lives.
The awards were split into six categories, including "Hero Cat" and "Most Caring Cat", with an overall winner announced as "Cat of the Year". The awards were presented by a number of celebrity judges, including Chizzy Akudolu, Justin Hawkins and Bob Mortimer, with Deborah Meaden taking the lead to announce the winner of the "Most Caring Cat" award.
“People don't really celebrate cats in the same way that we often celebrate dogs and other pets,” Deborah told Happiful. “And we need to highlight the ways that they come into our lives and the things that they can do to our lives. So that’s why I’m here celebrating today.”
This year's "Cat of the Year" award went to Theo, the incredible moggy who saved his owner from a potentially fatal blood clot.
Theo didn’t have an easy start in life. As a kitten, he was seriously ill with cat flu and only made it through due to round-the-clock care from his owner, Charlotte Dixon.
Years later, Theo returned the favour when he detected a blood clot working its way through Charlotte’s body in the middle of the night. He prevented Charlotte from falling asleep by pawing at her and behaving in an erratic manner – something that potentially saved Charlotte’s life.
“When I woke up in the night feeling unwell, I put it down to a virus,” said Charlotte. “I was confused and shaky but thought I should just get some sleep. Theo wouldn’t let me and was behaving very strangely and out of character. He kept batting me with his paw, meowing and jumping on me – keeping me awake. Eventually, I decided to call my mum and she called an ambulance.”
“The paramedic recognised the signs of a blood clot straight away and said it was a good thing I hadn’t fallen asleep as I probably wouldn’t have woken up.”
After hearing the story, the panel of celebrity judges, made of actor Peter Egan, musician Rick Wakeman, animal behaviour expert Sarah Fisher, actor Anthony Head, broadcaster Andrew Collins, actress Carley Stenson, actor Danny Mac, actor Paul Copley and presenter and actress Jessica-Jane Stafford, chose Theo to win the title of "Cat of the Year".
“All cats are amazing but I owe my life to Theo,” said Charlotte. “We always had a close bond and I feel this award is a truly wonderful way to celebrate his life.”
Sadly, Theo died just a week before the awards but, according to Charlotte, this only made his win all the more poignant.
“I’m devastated that he’s gone but I’m so proud of him for winning. It shows I’m not the only one who thinks he was a really special cat.”
“The bond between Theo and Charlotte has really captured our hearts and being able to honour him with this award is a fitting tribute,” explained Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting. “I hope the experience of today will be of some comfort to Charlotte at this difficult time.”
To find out more about the work that Cats Protection do, visit www.cats.org.uk