A cat whose actions “saved” her diabetic owner’s life is among 12 finalists at the National Cat Awards.
The awards, run by Cats Protection – the UK’s largest feline welfare charity – will honour cats in four categories: Cat Colleagues, Family Fur-ever, Moggy Marvels and Social Star.
The finalists include a cat who provides companionship to gardeners at Hampton Court Palace, a mog who was rescued after becoming marooned in a river, and a feline friend who saved its diabetic owner, Amanda Jameson.
Willow the cat’s actions proved to be crucial, biting the leg of her partner Ray Sherwood, 57, who had fallen asleep in front of the television, and pacing around to wake him up.
Willow then led Ray upstairs where he found Amanda unresponsive and called for an ambulance.
“I had fallen asleep in front of the TV and then around 4am, I was woken by Willow biting at my legs and jumping at me,” said Mr Sherwood.
“It was very out of character for her and made me get up to see what all the fuss was about. She was running between me and the stairs, looking back at me. I followed her up the stairs and she kept looking back at me to make sure I was coming.
“When I went into the bedroom, Willow leapt onto the bed, and I could see Amanda slumped over. She was unresponsive and I called an ambulance straight away. She was very unwell and rushed to hospital where, fortunately, they were able to treat her.
“I was absolutely stunned – Willow had saved her life. She’s an incredible cat, a total hero.”
“Willow is amazing, I just think she’s incredible. Since I came home from hospital, she has become very protective of me. I’ve noticed how she puts her nose to my mouth a lot, I think she’s checking I’m breathing.”
Willow has been included in the Moggy Marvels category, alongside Dali, a cat who was missing for a month before being found marooned on a small patch of rocks in the Bradford Beck river, and Beau, who supports her owner David, who was diagnosed with incurable blood cancer.
The public will have until June 30 to vote for their favourites in each category, with the winners set to receive a trophy, a £200 pet store voucher and a year’s subscription to Cats Protection’s The Cat magazine.
The winners, along with the National Cat of the Year, will be announced during a ceremony at Wilton’s Music Hall on July 17, hosted by writer and TV presenter Dawn O’Porter.
“I’m really looking forward to hearing all the amazing stories of the nominees”.
Cats Protection’s awards organiser, Ashley Fryer, said “Cats can have a huge impact on wellbeing and mental health and it’s clear that each of our finalists brings something really special to their owners.
“We’ve whittled down nearly 3,000 entries to just 12 remarkable felines and we can’t wait to see who the public chooses as their winners.”