A cat from Thetford, who helps warn when her owner is about to suffer a blackout, has been shortlisted for an award.
Twelve-year-old Lunar beat hundreds of entries to take her place as one of three contenders to receive a Cats Protection Special Recognition Award, which celebrates the amazing stories of cats which have been rehomed by Cats Protection.
Lunar was selected in recognition of how she helps owner Ali Coles live with a medical condition which causes frequent and unexpected fainting episodes.
Ali, 29, has postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, which, along with another medical condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, means she can sustain serious injuries when she falls.
But she has found Lunar, who adopted from Cats Protection last year, can help her predict when a blackout is about to occur.
She said: “Whenever I’m about to suffer a blackout, Lunar will come and sit on me in such a way that I can’t stand up. Or if I’m already standing up, she will stand on my feet and refuse to move.
“It’s the warning I need to get myself prepared for what’s about to happen. If I’m sitting or lying down, then I’m less likely to injure myself when I blackout.
“I can’t tell when I’m about to have a blackout, but Lunar most certainly can. Our vet thinks that Lunar is able to sense the subtle chemical change which happens prior to a fainting episode.”
While some animals can be trained to detect medical conditions, Lunar has received no previous training, making her ability even more remarkable.
The Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards, organised by the UK’s largest cat charity and sponsored by Purina, is an annual celebration of the real-life stories of heroism, loyalty and companionship in the feline world. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at The Savoy Hotel in London on August 3.
Kate Bunting, Cats Protection’s awards organiser, said: “Lunar and Ali clearly have a very special bond, and it’s remarkable to see how that is helping prevent serious injuries. Lunar’s ability just goes to show how intuitive cats can be and the amazing difference they can have to people’s lives.”
Cats Protection helps around 190,000 cats and kittens each year through its national network of 34 centres and more than 250 volunteer-run branches.