‘Intuitive’ pet who ‘hears’ for deaf owner named National Cat of the Year

intuitive pet
Maggie Davies

Zebby won the title in recognition of the support he offers his deaf owner by alerting her to sounds around the house.

An “intuitive” cat who helps his deaf owner by alerting her to sounds around the house has won a national award.

Zebby was named Cats Protection’s National Cat of the Year 2023 in recognition of the way he supports owner Genevieve Moss, 66, by alerting her to noises like the phone ringing or a guest at the door.

Ms Moss, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, said: “I am so proud of Zebby for showing the world how intuitive and caring cats can be, and what a positive effect they can have on people’s lives.”

She outlined the ways in which he assists her, saying: “Without my hearing aid, I can’t hear anything, but now I have Zebby to help me. “He’ll come and tap me when the phone is ringing, and then I can pop my hearing aid and speaker on and take the call.

“In the night, if there’s an unusual noise he will bat me on my head to wake me up and let me know. “If someone is at the door, he’ll pace about in front of me until I get the message.”

She continued: “He is very helpful and likes to bring me things – he’ll get the post from the doormat and pick it up in his mouth before dropping it in the bedroom. “He even brings me my slippers if he finds them somewhere other than my feet!”

Zebby beat thousands of other pets to be named overall winner in the nation’s biggest celebration of cats, which was organised by animal welfare charity Cats Protection.

Ms Moss said she “can’t imagine life without Zebby” and added: “I’m over the moon that he’s been honoured in the National Cat Awards. “Living on my own and being deaf means life could be
lonely, but not with Zebby around – he’s my hero.”

Zebby became one of four finalists in the National Cat Awards after he won the competition’s Family Fur-ever category – which celebrates cats that make a family complete – in a public vote.

The decision to crown Zebby the overall winner was made by a panel of celebrities and experts, including former footballer David Seaman and veterinarian and TV personality Dr Scott Miller.

Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards organiser Ashley Fryer said: “From the moment we read his entry form, we knew Zebby was something special. “Zebby is clearly devoted to Genevieve, and their story highlights the powerful bond that exists between people and their cats.”

Zebby was awarded a trophy and prize package, which included a £200 pet store voucher.

Previous winners include were Jasper and Willow, who were jointly named National Cat of the Year 2022 in recognition of the companionship they offered at St Peter & St James Hospice in Haywards Heath, West Sussex.

In other categories, the 2023 award for Social Star went to Eric, who has gone from a poorly stray kitten to amassing several thousand followers across Instagram and TikTok.

Henry IX won the Cat Colleagues category as he spends his days providing companionship to the gardening team at Hampton Court Palace in south-west London, and Willow took the title in the Moggy Marvels category after raising the alarm when her diabetic owner became unconscious.

(Story source: Sky News)

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