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Life-saving feline crowned National Cat of the Year
Charlotte with Theo who was crowned National Cat of the Year 2018.

Theo kept his owner awake when she suffered a blood clot

A cat that helped his owner survive a fatal blood clot has been crowned National Cat of the Year 2018.

Eight-year-old Theo suffered cat flu as a kitten and survived thanks to 24-hour care from his owner, Charlotte Dixon. Theo was later able to reciprocate that care when he detected a blood clot passing through Charlotte’s body in the middle of the night.

Theo pawed at Charlotte to prevent her from falling asleep - an action which is thought to have saved her life. But in a cruel twist of fate, Theo died a week before the awards, making his win all the more poignant.

“All cats are amazing but I owe my life to Theo. We always had a close bond and I feel this award is a truly wonderful way to celebrate his life,” said Charlotte.

“When I woke up in the night feeling unwell, I put it down to a virus. I was confused and shaky but thought I should just get some sleep. Theo wouldn’t let me and was behaving very strangely and out of character. He kept batting me with his paw, meowing and jumping on me - keeping me awake. Eventually, I decided to call my mum and she called an ambulance.
 
“The paramedic recognised the signs of a blood clot straight away and said it was a good thing I hadn’t fallen asleep as I probably wouldn’t have woken up.”

Paramedics rushed Charlotte to hospital where she spent a week in the High Dependency Unit before making a complete recovery.

“I’m devastated that he’s gone but I’m so proud of him for winning,” she said. “It shows I’m not the only one who thinks he was a really special cat.”

Theo was named National Cat of the Year by a star-studded panel of judges including actor Peter Egan, musician Rick Wakeman and broadcaster Andrew Collins.

Presenting an emotional Charlotte with Theo’s trophy, Andrew said: “There’s no greater, nor more selfless a bond than between Charlotte and Theo. That Theo was nursed to health by Charlotte and then he repaid her in kind is the epitome of the cat-human relationship.”

The annual Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards took place at London’s Savoy on Thursday (2 August). The event celebrates real-life stories of heroism, loyalty and companionship in the feline world.

Image (C) Cats Protection

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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.