Most Caring Cat
Cats that have a positive impact on an owner’s health or wellbeing.
Winner - Tilly
Jess Laughton, 23, has spent the past decade coping with the excruciating discomfort caused by complex regional pain syndrome and Ehlors Danlos syndrome. The conditions mean Jess is entirely house-bound and have left her with depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress.
Two years ago, her life was transformed by the arrival of tiny kitten Tilly. The pair quickly struck up a close bond, and Tilly rarely leaves Jess’s bedside. Jess said: “She has helped me cope during the most painful of times, and is always by my side. She’s helped me better than any anti-depressant or medication ever has.”
Jess was unable to collect her award at The Savoy Hotel in London, but did send a message that was read out.
Jess said: “I am so happy that Tilly has won this award. She is my best friend and it is totally deserved. She has saved my life mentally a thousand times over and I don’t know what I would do without her.
“It means so much to us both and we would like to thank you all very much. I am so sorry I can’t be at the event sadly due to being in hospital but know you will be having a fantastic time. Thanks again.”
Ali Bastian, who is best known for playing Becca in Channel 4’s Hollyoaks and PC Sally Armstrong in ITV’s The Bill, judged the category and said: “It was so hard to choose because they’re all such inspiring and heart-warming stories, but in Jess and Tilly’s case it’s amazing when you see an animal and person in such perfect harmony. Neither could live without one another - there is total inspiring love”.
It was the final year of her university course, and for Cody Barrett, the most difficult time in her life. Having battled with an eating disorder for years, the stresses of studying had finally become too much. When she was admitted into hospital with mental health issues, she had reached rock bottom. Yet a hospital therapist suggested a possible solution to help, and it proved to be the turning point for Cody: adopting a pet.
Cody explained: “The therapist said I should consider it, as she believed pets were great therapy for people. After giving it serious thought, I found Layla and almost overnight a fog lifted. She helps me make sense of things, motivates me and I’ve learnt a lot about myself through caring for her.”
When Craig and Rosie Jones were involved in a high speed car accident on the motorway, they were lucky to escape with their lives. But while they may have survived the 70mph smash, they were both left with physical and mental scars in the form of chronic pain and post-traumatic stress. Yet through the most painful and challenging period of their lives, their pet cat Missy has been there to provide comfort, reassurance, and loving support.
Never leaving the couple’s side, the nine-year-old puss has helped the couple move forward with their lives. Craig said: “When we got home from hospital, it was Missy who was there for us. Whatever pain we are in, she’ll always be there purring away and helping us put the past behind us.”