Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Life-changing Jeffree crowned National Cat of the Year
Jeffree helped his owner Finn cope with the sudden death of his father.

Story highlights importance of human-animal bond in times of tragedy

A cat who helped his Aspergic owner cope with the sudden death of his father has been crowned National Cat of the Year 2019.

Eight-year-old Jeffree from Coventry beat hundreds of other entries to be named overall winner in the nation’s biggest celebration of cats.

He was awarded in recognition of the life-changing effect he had on 14-year-old Finn Hackeson, who became depressed and withdrawn after his dad died in 2018.

Because Finn has Apserger syndrome he can find it difficult to communicate. But Finn’s mother Gayle Atkins said that he has been able to cope much better ever since Jeffree came into their lives.

Collecting Jeffree’s award at London’s Savoy on Thursday (8 August), Gayle said: “I’m thrilled Jeffree has won, he’s most definitely an absolute star in our household. I hope that through his story more people will see what an incredible support cats can be for both children and adults with autism.

“Cats don’t judge, they don’t rush you to talk about your feelings and they accept people the way they are – and that really is priceless.”

She continued: “I was prepared to do anything to help him and, because we’re animal lovers, we adopted Jeffree. I don’t think I really had any other options available then, he was my big hope of pulling Finn back from the brink – and he totally did it.

“To think how far Finn has come is incredible and I don’t know of any other therapy that could have had this effect. It’s all down to this amazing little black cat.”

Jeffree was chosen by a star-studded panel of judges which included Radio Times film editor, Andrew Collins, actor, Tyger Drew-Honey, and musician, Rick Wakeman. He was named overall winner after scooping first place in the Furr-ever Friends category, which celebrates the bond between children and cats.

Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting said: “Some children face particularly challenging struggles in their lives and often the family pet can be a huge source of comfort and friendship. Finn and Jeffree’s story shows how important this bond can be and how it can help during times of tragedy.

“I’m so pleased Finn and Jeffree have found each other and I hope many other families will be inspired by their story.”

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

AWF Student Grant open for submissions

News Story 1
 Applications are open for the Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) Student Grant Scheme for innovative research projects designed to impact animal welfare.

Undergraduate and postgraduate students of veterinary science, veterinary nursing, agriculture studies and animal welfare are invited to submit their proposals to undertake research projects next year.

Grants are decided based on the project’s innovation, relevance to topical animal welfare issues and ability to contribute towards raising animal welfare standards. For more information visit animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk.  

Click here for more...
News Shorts
SPANA film highlights plight of working animals overseas

Animal welfare charity SPANA (The Society for the Protection of Animals Abroad) has teamed up with Brian Blessed and other famous voices to highlight the plight of working animals overseas.

In a new animated film, the celebrities raise awareness by showing the solidarity of the UK's own working animals on strike. A sniffer dog (Brian Blessed), police horse (Peter Egan) and sheepdog (Deborah Meaden) are shown ignoring their duties and protesting in solidarity with animals in developing countries.

SPANA chef executive Geoffrey Dennis said: "We are so grateful to Deborah, Peter and Brian for lending their voices to our new film, and for speaking up for millions of working animals overseas. SPANA believes that a life of work should not mean a life of suffering, and it is only thanks to people’s generosity and support that we can continue our vital work improving the lives of these animals."