A rescue cat that helped its owner through bone cancer treatment has been named National Cat of the Year.
Genie was honoured for comforting her owner Evie Henderson, 11, from Lincoln, through six rounds of chemotherapy.
Evie was diagnosed with bone cancer in March 2016 and said Genie’s company helped her cope with several painful operations and long spells in hospital.
The cat was recognised by feline charity Cats Protection at a ceremony in London.
‘Pitter-patter on my knee’
“I think she’s great. She deserves it. She’s always been there for me,” said Evie.
“She would come round my leg with the plaster and she would sit by my feet. She would smell my plaster and she’d come up on to the sofa and do pitter-patter on my knee.
“When I’ve been too ill to have friends round or go outside and I’ve been stuck in the house, she’d come round me and that made me a lot happier and gave me great comfort.”
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Like owner, like pet
Evie said she shared a special bond with her pet, which gave her tremendous support when she lost her hair while enduring the gruelling treatment.
“It was very upsetting for me because I had long brown hair. But at the same time as it was spring, Genie was moulting as well so it was sort of like I’m losing my hair and Genie’s losing her hair as well so that eased the shock of it all.”
‘My best friend’
Evie’s father, Chris Henderson, said the cat had been a “great distraction” and described how Evie would watch video footage of her beloved pet from her hospital bed.
“Evie was in hospital for over 300 days so we spent a lot of time in hospital and it just gave her something to look forward to when she did have those few precious days at home.”
The 11-year-old said: “I missed her every day I was in hospital, and my family could tell she missed me.
“She’s my best friend and I honestly don’t know what I would do without her.”
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