Chicken the cat scoops national award for helping autistic boy

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Elliot Abery, with his pet cat ChickenImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Chicken won the "Furr-Ever Friends" category at the awards on Thursday

A cat named Chicken, who is an anxiety-battling companion to an 11-year-old autistic boy, has scooped a national award.

The 10-year-old moggy brings comfort and support to Elliot Abery from Thatcham in Berkshire.

Chicken came top in the "Furr-ever Friends" category after being picked by a panel of judges, which included England Lioness Ellen White.

The accolade celebrates "tales of friendship" between cats and children.

The annual National Cat Awards, held on Thursday, were organised by welfare charity Cats Protection and honour the feline friends that have gone above and beyond as pets.

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Chicken was recognised for her "special bond" with Elliot

Elliot's family say the feline brings calm and helps him cope when facing stressful times.

Mother Jenny Abery said: "I really hope their story will help highlight how incredible cats can be for people with autism.

"They are normally together, whether it's cuddling under blankets or playing games, and their friendship is a huge source of comfort to Elliot.

"When he's had a tough day or is struggling with anxiety, talking about Chicken has a calming effect on him. She just dotes on him and is never far from Elliot.

"[They] are just brilliant together and share a special bond which is unlike anything I've ever seen."

The other two contenders in the category, chosen from hundreds of other entries, were Max of Harrogate, Yorkshire, and Teddy of Braunston, near Daventry, Northamptonshire.

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