Support cat who ‘hears’ for deaf owner crowned Cat Of The Year in UK
You have heard of guide dogs for the blind, but what about a hearing cat for the deaf?
Zebby, a two-year-old black and white cat, has been the ears for his 66-year-old owner Genevieve Moss, who is deaf and lives alone in Chesterfield, England.
“Whether it’s the phone ringing, someone at the door or a sound in the night, Zebby will tap Genevieve’s face or pace in front of her, alerting her that she needs to put on her hearing aid,” reads a description of Zebby on the website of UK feline welfare charity, Cats Protection.
Zebby was not trained for the job, but his helpfulness and exemplary performance had clearly won over those who vote at the National Cat Awards.
Besides winning the Family Fur-ever category, which honoured cats that “go the extra mile” for families across the UK, Zebby also beat thousands of other competitors and emerged the overall winner.
On July 17, Cats Protection crowned Zebby the National Cat Of The Year, which comes with prizes including a trophy and a £200 pet store voucher.
“I can’t imagine life without Zebby and 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,” said Ms Moss.
“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.”
According to Ms Moss, Zebby also brings her mail to her bedroom, and delivers her slippers to her if he finds them “somewhere other than (her) feet”.
In a video posted by Cat Protection, Ms Moss said it was very difficult being deaf and living alone. One night, she was burgled when she was not wearing her hearing aid.
“Right from being very small, Zebby sensed that I had difficulty hearing, and he’s become my night watchman, my postman and guardian, ” she said.
“He seems to know that when the phone rings, he needs to alert me. At night time, if my security light goes on, he seems to know to wake me up, and he does so by tapping my face.”
Ms Moss added that she used to be scared to go to sleep, but she says she can now sleep knowing that Zebby would be there.
Other categories in the annual National Cat Awards include Cat Colleagues, for cats that “enhance the 9-5 or make working from home a joy”, Moggy Marvels, which focuses on “jaw-dropping tales of moggy brilliance”, and Social Star, which focuses on cats “spreading joy across the online world”.
Winners of these categories are determined via a public vote. All four category winners were then reviewed by a panel of independent judges who would determine one overall “National Cat of the Year”.
According to its website, Cats Protection helps an average of 157,000 cats and kittens every year, with the help of a network of more than 210 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.