Outstanding Rescue Cat
Felines adopted from animal welfare organisations
Category and Overall Winner - Genie
Eleven-year-old Evie Henderson has faced a huge battle since being diagnosed with bone cancer in March 2016. She’s endured six gruelling rounds of chemotherapy; several painful operations and lengthy hospital stays far from home. Throughout it all, it has been Genie who helped her cope. During painful treatments, Evie would watch video footage of her beloved pet from her hospital bed, and Genie’s fur moulting helped Evie feel less isolated when she lost her own hair.
Now on the road to recovery, Evie is thrilled she can finally spend more time with Genie at home. She says: “I missed her every day I was in hospital, and my family could tell she missed me. She’s my best friend and is always there when I need her.”
Genie was announced as the overall winner by a team of celebrity judges at an awards ceremony at The Savoy Hotel in London.
Receiving her second trophy from the judges, Evie said: “I’m utterly stunned. I really can’t believe it. Genie deserves this so much. I was so happy to win our category but to win again is really amazing, incredible. It’s fabulous; I’m shocked, surprised and delighted by my cat at the same time.
“Genie will be getting some extra treats tonight.”
A celebrity judging panel, made up of writer, broadcaster and journalist Andrew Collins, actress Anita Dobson, actor Paul Copley, Olympic clay pigeon shooter Charlotte Hollands, ‘The Vamps’ musician James McVey, actor Anthony Head, animal therapist Sarah Fisher and TV psychologist Jo Hemmings had the difficult task of choosing from the five category winners. Presenting the award, Anita Dobson said: said: “This year’s vote was really close, they were all such worthy category winners but one had to win. In the end, it just had to be Genie.”
Presenting the award to Genie, Anita said: “None of us could fail to be moved by the close bond that these two share, a well-deserved win.”
When Chloe Vincent was threatened with a knife during a terrifying ordeal at her workplace, her life crumpled. Suffering with stress and anxiety, she was forced to leave her job and developed post-traumatic stress. An ongoing battle to manage epilepsy made life ever harder, and Chloe fell into a deep depression.
Therapy came in the form of Nala, her 12-year-old Siamese cat, adopted from an animal charity. Chloe says: “There was a huge waiting list for counselling, and I could have easily lost all hope for the future. But Nala was there for me. Her constant presence has given me a reason to carry on and she truly is my rock.”
For Kirsty Furness, twenty-year-old Charlie is more than simply a much-loved pet - his ability to detect a medical emergency makes him a lifeline. Kirsty, 28, has type 1 diabetes, which can lead to her blood sugar dropping to dangerously low levels, with serious consequences if it happens during sleep.
Despite not having any training, Charlie is able to detect when Kirsty’s blood sugar falls at night, and raises the alarm by tapping her face and meowing until she wakes. Kirsty says: “Not only does Charlie wake me to alert me, he also stays by my side while I eat something and won’t leave me alone until I’ve recovered.”