This year’s National Cat Awards are a self-described “annual celebration of the companionship of cats.” Hosted by cat-loving companies Cats Protection and Feliway, the candidates for this year competition are some of the best kitties on the planet, and it’s easy to see why.
There are four categories of the National Cat Awards: Cat Colleagues, Furr-ever Friends, Outstanding Rescue Cats, and Most Caring Cat. There are currently three finalists in each category, though how in the world we will ever choose a winner is beyond me.
They are all so amazing – it will be impossible to narrow it down to just ONE category winner!
The finalists for the Cat Colleagues award, a category sponsored by Feliway Optum, are Dylan, Marley, and Milo. These three incredibly handsome working cats have been nominated for this category because they, in some way, enhance the workspace they are in.
Dylan works alongside his owner, Rebecca, a mentor for university students struggling with mental health. Rebecca commonly advises students who are struggling with ADHD or depression. Dylan helps students open up for counseling during their virtual meetings with his on-screen antics, whether playing, purring, or doing what cats do best – napping.
Marley is an honorary staff member at The Apuldram Center, an organization that supports adults with learning disabilities such as autism. Marley is responsible for attending staff meetings, chasing birds away from the vegetable garden community, and participating in various activities with clients.
“We have lots of activities for people who come to the day center, such as arts and crafts, gardening and dance – and Marley gets stuck into all of them.” – The Apuldram Center staff member Richard Manning
Milo lives and works at a senior care center, where he provides comfort and companionship. Residents of the center light up when Milo enters the room, and his presence has been known to decrease feelings of depression and loneliness for nearby humans. Milo is the head of the welcome committee and LOVES meeting new people.
The Furr-Ever Friends Category focuses on stories of friendship, companionship, and love between cats and children. The three finalists in this category are Chicken, Max, and Teddy – three kitties who have made a significant impact in the lives of the children they love.
Chicken is a beautiful calico cat who provides emotional support to her owner, Elliot, an eleven-year-old boy with autism. Elliot will frequently experience high anxiety that is difficult to handle. Chicken will come to the rescue during these times to help calm Elliot down. Elliot’s mom, Jenny, says that friendship is unlike anything she’s ever seen:
“Elliot and Chicken share a special bond which is unlike anything I’ve ever seen.”, Says Jenny, “When he’s had a tough day or is struggling with anxiety, talking about Chicken has a calming effect on him. Chicken and Elliot are just brilliant together and I really hope their story will help highlight how incredible cats can be for people with autism. ”
Max’s kid, Jessica, suffers from various health issues, including autism and epilepsy. Not only is Max a wonderful companion to Jessica, keeping her entertained with plenty of playtime and snuggles, but he also has a hidden talent. Max will alert Jessica’s family whenever she has a seizure, allowing them to stop the convulsions quickly and safely.
Teddy is a feline companion to Harry, a thirteen-year-old boy with autism and ADHD who suffers from high anxiety. This anxiety can often leave him feeling panicked and keep him from doing “normal” things like going to school. Teddy helps Harry calm down by providing plenty of cuddles, playtime, and purrs.
Finalists of the Outstanding Rescue Cat category have made a significant community impact since being adopted from shelters or animal rescue centers. These finalists are siblings Jasper and Willow, Millie, and Murdoch.
Since their adoption, Jasper and Willow have been serving as therapy cats at Saint Peters and Saint James Hospice Centers. The two siblings spend their days comforting patients receiving end-of-life care and their families. Their presence has often been said to bring “rays of sunshine” to the staff, especially on tough days.
At the age of twenty-six, Millie’s owner, Jennifer, was suicidal and attempted to take her own life. Jessica began to think of her beloved cat during the attempt, which inspired her to seek the medical help needed to save her life. Millie was by Jessica’s side throughout her recovery and continues to help her now on both the good days and the rough ones too.
Murdoch has been a loving companion for his owner, Gwen, since the death of her beloved husband. Grateful for his new home, Murdoch shows his appreciation by being a rock for Gwen during her grieving process.
Finalists of the Most Caring Cat category have been chosen due to the positive impact they have made on their owner’s health or wellbeing. The caring cats are Archie, Misty, and Spuds.
Archie, a beautiful Bengal cat, provides companionship and support to his owner, Maddy, while she goes through kidney dialysis five times a week. He knows exactly when to keep his distance while she gets “hooked up” to the machines and will plant himself on Maddy’s lap once it is safe to do so, providing snuggles and support.
Misty helps her owner, Coral, emotionally while she works through the effects of her PTSD. Misty helped Coral learn to walk again after a painful medical condition left her bedridden in her teen years. Misty would always come running when she heard Coral’s crutches, ready to provide support and a friendly face.
Spud is a former stray who saved the lives of its owner and all of their neighbors by waking his owner, Brendan, from a deep sleep to alert him of smoke clouds filling the apartment. Spud jumped up and down on Brendan’s chest repeatedly until he awoke, allowing plenty of time to evacuate the complex and call the fire department.
These thirteen fabulous felines are all incredible companions who deserve to be recognized. The four winners of these category awards, which are to be announced in August, will receive a pet store voucher, a trophy, and a year subscription to Cat Protection’s magazine.
Featured Image: Yahoo News