Last week we attended the amazing National Cat Awards of Cats Protection. It was a great afternoon and fantastic to meet so many fellow cat lovers! Most importantly Cats Protection celebrated the winners of their awards of course!
An intuitive moggy who became a hearing cat for his owner despite having no formal training has been named National Cat of the Year 2023.
Zebby beat thousands of other entries to be named overall winner in the nation’s biggest celebration of cats, organised by Cats Protection and held at Wilton’s Music Hall in London on 17 July.
Zebby was honoured in recognition of how he supports his deaf owner Genevieve Moss, 66, by alerting her to sounds around the home.
Genevieve, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, said: “I am so proud of Zebby for showing the world how intuitive and caring cats can be, and what a positive effect they can have on people’s lives. I can’t imagine life without Zebby and I’m over the moon that he’s been honoured in the National Cat Awards. Living on my own and being deaf means life could be lonely, but not with Zebby around – he’s my hero.
“Without my hearing aid, I can’t hear anything, but now I have Zebby to help me. He’ll come and tap me when the phone is ringing, and then I can pop my hearing aid and speaker on and take the call. In the night, if there’s an unusual noise he will bat me on my head to wake me up and let me know. If someone is at the door, he’ll pace about in front of me until I get the message.
“He is very helpful and likes to bring me things – he’ll get the post from the doormat and pick it up in his mouth before dropping it in the bedroom. He even brings me my slippers if he finds them somewhere other than my feet! Zebby is very special, I’ve never known a cat quite like him. He loves to be around me – wherever I am, he’s not far behind. We’ve got a very close bond and I wouldn’t want to cope without him.”
To reach the final four cats in the National Cat Awards, Zebby first won the Family Fur-ever category – which celebrates cats that make a family complete – in a public vote. He was then selected as overall National Cat of the Year by a panel of celebrities and expert vets including Dr Scott Miller, Dr Fabian Rivers, Dr Rory Cowlam, Dr Bolu Eso, Frankie Seaman, David Seaman MBE, and Cats Protection’s Director of Feline Welfare Maggie Roberts.
As an overall winner, Zebby won a trophy and prize package, which included a £200 pet store voucher. He follows in the paw prints of last year’s winners Jasper and Willow, who were named joint National Cat of the Year 2022 in recognition of the role they play at St Peter & St James Hospice in Haywards Heath, Sussex.
Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards organiser Ashley Fryer said: “From the moment we read his entry form, we knew Zebby was something special. Zebby is clearly devoted to Genevieve, and their story highlights the powerful bond that exists between people and their cats. He’s a shining example of the joy and comfort a cat can bring.”
Other category winners were:
- Eric – Winner of the Social Star category, whose rags to riches story has seen him go from death’s door as a poorly stray kitten to one of Twitter and Instagram’s rising stars.
- Henry IX – Winner of the Cat Colleagues category, who spends his days providing companionship and humour to the gardening team at Hampton Court Palace.
- Willow – Winner of the Moggy Marvels category, who raised the alarm when her diabetic owner became unconscious.
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and has helped an average of 157,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years through its national network which includes around 210 volunteer-run branches and 34 adoption centres.
If you’re interested in adopting a cat, fostering kittens, or volunteering for Cats Protection, go to www.cats.org.uk