Honour for the UK’s top cat at this year’s Feline Oscars!

A cat that provides vital support through times of loneliness and has a remarkable ability to fetch help whenever her owner needs it has last Friday (1 August) been named Rescue Cat of the Year 2008 at this year’s Feline Oscars.

Speedy, a tabby cat from Suffolk, scooped the winning title at Cats Protection’s Rescue Cat Awards 2008 for the constant companionship she provides to her owner, 19-year-old Christine Payne, who suffers with a range of conditions including progressive spinal ataxia, epilepsy and severe learning difficulties.

Two-year-old Speedy stays by Christine’s side at all times, helping to relieve some of her owner’s extreme loneliness. Speedy also senses Christine’s seizures and is quick to alert Christine’s parents. Watch Speedy’s story here:

Speedy’s story touched the hearts of everyone at the awards ceremony, which was sponsored by Purina PetCare and held at The Pharaoh’s Palace Hospitality Suite, which is part of the prestigious Tutankhamun Exhibition in London’s O2 Arena.

Cat lovers and a host of celebrities including Brian Blessed (pictured below), Prunella Scales, Tim Vincent, David Barby and Sally Gunnell have all lent their support to celebrate the real-life stories of survival, bravery and heroism in the cat world and to honour this year’s marvellous mogs.

Brian Blessed, who was one of the celebrity judges, said: “Speedy’s love and compassion and deep appreciation of Christine’s difficulties is truly astonishing and should be duly rewarded. May this amazing relationship last forever.”

The charity received over 350 entries for the Rescue Cat Awards, which have been run four times since the awards began back in 2003. Sixteen cats were shortlisted for the five awards handed out at the ceremony.

Other winners on the day included:

Felix – winner of the Ultimate Survivor category, judged by actress Prunella Scales. Felix, from Brentwood in Essex, became entangled in the blades of a combine harvester which led to horrendous injuries, including contracting the feline form of tetanus. Thankfully he survived and is back to his lively self!

Kizzy – winner of the Best Friends category, judged by athlete Sally Gunnell. Kizzy, from Sittingbourne in Kent, is a great source of love and support to her 22-year-old owner Anna Levermore, who was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome when she was just 7-years-old.

Tabitha – winner of the Most Incredible Story category, chosen by the readers of The People’s Take it Easy Magazine. Tabitha, from Driffield in East Yorkshire, survived being trapped in the hardboard surround of a bathroom cupboard for an amazing 44 days before being rescued!

Struie and Meallie – winners of The Special Award, presented by TV antiques expert David Barby.  Struie and Meallie, from Inverness, have been a great source of comfort and joy to their owner Rhoda McVey’s parents during their final years of life.

Peter Hepburn, Cats Protection’s Chief Executive, said: “Cats play important roles in our lives. As we can see from this year’s winners they can comfort us in times of bereavement, they are our companions in times of loneliness and can even be heroes in times of trouble. We get so much back when we adopt a rescue cat, they make truly wonderful pets.”

Cats Protection is the UK’s leading cat charity and helps 142,000 cats and kittens each year through its nationwide network of 256 voluntary-run branches and 29 adoption centres.

What a great day, and thanks Cats Protection for the invite!

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