A cat is up for an award after learning to wake up his diabetic owner when her blood sugar gets too low in her sleep.
Nine-year-old Walter has never received any training as a medical emergency detection pet, but he has learned to recognise when owner Hazel Parkyn is about to suffer a hypoglycaemic attack in her sleep.
48-year-old Hazel, from Swadlincoate, said her pet may have saved her life many times over.
Walter beat hundreds of other entries to take his place as one of three contenders for the Hero Cat award in the final stage of the awards, run by Cats Protection.
Hazel said: ‘Walter really is a remarkable cat. When my blood sugar runs low it can be very serious, especially if I’m asleep as I may not be able to wake up.
‘Yet Walter can sense when this is about to happen and will repeatedly pat me on the face until I wake.
‘He won’t stop until I’ve woken, he really is very persistent. He’ll then sit with me while I get my sugar levels back to normal.’
She added: ‘He’s a great pet and I love having him around but he’s more than that, he’s a lifesaver.’
Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards, organised by the UK’s largest cat charity and sponsored by Purina, is an annual celebration of real-life stories of heroism and loyalty in the feline world.
Hazel and husband Darren now have to wait until 8 August, when winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at London’s Savoy.
The event will be attended by celebrities including entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, former England goalkeeper David Seaman and his wife, Dancing on Ice star Frankie Seaman.
If Walter wins his category, he will also be in with a chance of being crowned National Cat of the Year.
Previous Cat of the Year Theo left some large paw prints to follow, after helping his owner Charlotte Dixon survive a potentially fatal blood clot.
Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting said: ‘Walter is clearly a much-loved pet.
‘But his amazing ability to detect a medical emergency means he’s also a reassuring presence for Hazel and her family.
‘What’s even more remarkable is that he’s able to do this without any previous training, showing just how intuitive cats can be.’
Calum Macrae, Regional Director UK & Ireland at Purina, said: ‘The National Cat Awards is a wonderful celebration of everything we love about cats.
‘In particular it shines a spotlight on the incredible bond that can exist between pets and owners.’
‘At Purina, we’re passionate about enriching the lives of pets and the people who love them, so we’re thrilled to support the National Cat Awards once again this year.
‘All the finalists are truly inspiring and go to show the hugely positive impact cats can have on people’s lives, for all sorts of reasons.
‘From providing fun and friendship to being there for comfort and companionship, and even to sometimes saving lives.
‘It’s no wonder that cats have earned a special place in our hearts and homes.’
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