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was awarded in recognition of the life-changing effect he had on 14-year-old Finn Hackeson, who became depressed and withdrawn after his dad died in 2018.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

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BEVA gives vets access to free membership for three months

News Story 1
 BEVA has announced that it is cutting membership renewal charges for the next three months in order to support all veterinary professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Memberships for all existing BEVA members will be extended until 30 June 2020. Veterinary professionals who are not members of BEVA will also be able to sign up for a free membership until 30 June 2020.

BEVA president Tim Mair said: "In this extraordinary time of global crisis our profession, as with many industries, is under immense pressure. By offering free membership we are giving equine vets easy access to a wealth of supportive resources and online CPD."

To sign up please visit the BEVA website.

Image (c) BEVA. 

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LOVE Gorgie Farm seeking veterinary volunteers

LOVE Gorgie Farm in Edinburgh is looking for people with veterinary and animal care experience, who would be interested in volunteering to help care for its animals during these difficult times.

The community-owned charity farm opened to the public only last month, but decided to close temporarily amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Its three-person team is working to care for the animals behind the scenes and the farm is now operating as a food bank for the public, delivering free breakfasts to local school children.

In an effort to build a contingency plan to secure the welfare of its animals, LOVE Gorgie Farm is looking for volunteers who would be able to step in if any team members fell sick or needed to self-isolate.

Those interested in volunteering are asked to contact gorgie@l-o-v-e.org.uk