Over the course of its illustrious history, a long list of Academy Award and Grammy winners have walked through the door of The Savoy Hotel, but on one day this summer the achievements of our feline friends were in the spotlight as the London landmark welcomed a clowder of people with a passion for compassion for Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards.
National Cat Awards 2017 Winner: A Cat Called Genie
Her very name conjures up a mental image of a spiritual guardian, and Genie took her moniker to heart when her favorite human was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in March 2016. Unleashing the power of true friendship, the eight-year-old tuxedo cat helped to make six rounds of chemotherapy and multiple operations bearable for 12-year-old Evie Henderson by being more playful and more attentive than she had ever been before. Even when the two were separated by Evie’s long hospital stays, videos of Genie kept the young girl’s spirits up.
National Cat Awards’ Feline Finalists
Genie– who represented the Outstanding Rescue Cat category– was dubbed the award presentation’s top dog, so to speak, but she had tough competition from the other feline finalists, including:
- Furr-ever Friends category winner Mittens, a tuxedo cat whose caring personality has helped to calm the fears of Faith Downey, a young autistic girl diagnosed with a rare brain tumor. Faith’s mother says, “The difference in Faith’s emotional state after spending time with Mittens is remarkable, and no professional or family member can create such a positive change.”
- Hero Cat category winner Pixie, who awakened her pet parents when she noticed that their sleeping baby was choking. Like the spritely figure she was named after, Pixie darted back and forth, traversing from 15-month-old April’s room to that of her parents until the couple went to check on the child. Praising her pal with paws, the little girl’s mother stated, “She’s a much-loved cat anyway and April adores her. But what she did that night was incredible and we really do believe she is something very special.”
- Better Together award recipient Spike, a rescue cat suffering from a thyroid condition whose sympathetic nature helps to brighten the life of his pet parent Mark Styles, who struggles with the challenges of a rare motor neuron disease. Mark’s wife states, “With both their health problems, they share a close bond, and keep each other active. They are inseparable, so if one of them decides to go for a potter in the garden, the other will normally follow. Spike’s company is such a morale boost for Mark, especially on the more difficult days.”
- Most Caring Cat finalist Tilly, a calico whose care lightens the load carried by Jess, a pet parent house-bound due to a debilitating complex regional pain syndrome and Ehlors Danlos syndrome. Speaking about her kitty companion, Jess states, “She has saved my life mentally a thousand time over and I don’t know what I would do without her.”
(NOTE: All of the finalists’ videos can be viewed in the National Cat Awards section on Cats Protection’s website.)
A Star-Studded Celebration
Accustomed to receiving accolades, an array of animal-loving luminaries were happy to present the awards to the families of such courageous and caring kitties. Among the celebrities to applaud those with paws were Downtown Abbey stars Peter Egan (known to fans of the British period drama as Hugh ‘Shrimpy’ MacClare), who judged the Outstanding Rescue Cat category, and Paul Copley (kindly Mr. Mason in the iconic Masterpiece series and Harry in Last Tango in Halifax), who acted as one of the awards’ overall judges; Ali Bastian, a star of The Bill and the British soap Hollyoaks, who TV viewers on this side of the pond may have seen in an episode of the detective series Death in Paradise; model Lucy Pinder, and actress Anita Dobson.
About Cats Protection
Celebrating 90 years of helping cats in need in 2017, Cats Protection is the leading feline welfare charity in the United Kingdom. Each year Cats Protection spays/neuters 159,000 felines and an estimated 218,000 cats and kittens receive comfort and care at the charity’s 32 adoption center and 250 volunteer-run branches.