Coventry & Warwickshire

Felines vie to be named top cat by welfare charity

Finn and mother Gayle Image copyright Cats Protection
Image caption Finn struggles with communication because of his Asperger syndrome

Helping a teenager overcome depression and bringing comfort to a cancer sufferer have earned two moggies nominations to be named top cat.

Teenager Finn from Coventry formed a close bond with former stray Jeffree after the sudden death of his father.

Meanwhile JJ was a "constant companion" to Edwina Norris, from Alcester, when she was diagnosed with cancer.

They have been shortlisted by animal welfare charity Cats Protection for the National Cat Awards.

Image copyright Cats Protection
Image caption Finn said he 'didn't really care about anything anymore' before Jeffree came to live with the family.

Jeffree, who, came to live with Finn after his father died, helped the teenager, how has Asperger syndrome, come to terms with his loss and cope with everyday life.

"Since Jeffree's been in my life I have had more of a will to live," he said.

"Finn connects with Jeffree on a level I don't understand but it works. He's been a real lifesaver," said mum Gayle Atkins.

Image copyright Cats Protection
Image caption JJ is 'warm and loving,' says owner Edwina Norris, who discovered she had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma in 2018.

JJ, one of three pets in the outstanding rescue cat category, was very shy when first adopted by Edwina and husband Bill.

When Edwina became ill with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the cat became her constant companion and comfort through a long and painful recovery.

"When I had bad days the cat would lie by me purring and licking me and he sort of gave me strength," said Edwina, adding she would be "a bit lost without him."

Organisers say a record number of entries have been received for the 2019 Cat of the Year prize, which celebrates feline heroism, loyalty and companionship. The winner will be announced at the Savoy Hotel in London in August.

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