A cat that saved its owner’s life by keeping her awake during a blood clot episode has been posthumously crowned National Cat of the Year.
Eight-year-old Theo, from Redditch, Worcestershire, died just one week before he was due to receive the award, owner Charlotte Dixon said.
Paramedics credited the cat for helping to save Ms Dixon from a fatal medical crisis.
Theo had sensed her deteriorating state and spent the night pawing at her body to stop her falling asleep.
Ms Dixon said: “All cats are amazing but I owe my life to Theo. We always had a close bond and I feel this award is a truly wonderful way to celebrate his life.
“When he was ill as a kitten, I wouldn’t give up on him as I knew he had a real spark and a will to live. I fed him round the clock with liquidised food through a pipette, kept him warm and talked to him a lot. I think that’s what’s always made us so close.
“When I woke up in the night feeling unwell, I put it down to a virus. I was confused and shaky but thought I should just get some sleep. Theo wouldn’t let me and was behaving very strangely and out of character. He kept batting me with his paw, meowing and jumping on me – keeping me awake. Eventually I decided to call my mum and she called an ambulance.
“The paramedic recognised the signs of a blood clot straight away and said it was a good thing I hadn’t fallen asleep as I probably wouldn’t have woken up.”
She was rushed to hospital and spent a week in the high dependency unit, before making a full recovery.
A panel of judges selected Theo for the top prize at the Cats Protection annual National Cat Awards, having first won a public vote in a separate category.
Ms Dixon said: “I’m devastated that he’s gone but I’m so proud of him for winning. It shows I’m not the only one who thinks he was a really special cat.”
She was presented with a trophy on his behalf during a ceremony at London’s Savoy on Thursday.