An intuitive moggy who became a hearing cat for his owner despite having no formal training has been named National Cat of the Year 2023.
Zebby beat thousands of other entries to be named overall winner in the nation’s biggest celebration of cats, organised by Cats Protection and held at Wilton’s Music Hall in London in July. Zebby was honoured in recognition of how he supports his deaf owner Genevieve Moss, 66, by alerting her to sounds around the home. Genevieve, of Chesterfield, Derbyshire, said: “I am so proud of Zebby for showing the world how intuitive and caring cats can be, and what a positive effect they can have on people’s lives. I can’t imagine life without Zebby and I’m over the moon that he’s been honoured in the National Cat Awards. Living on my own and being deaf means life could be lonely, but not with Zebby around – he’s my hero.
“Without my hearing aid, I can’t hear anything, but now I have Zebby to help me. He’ll come and tap me when the phone is ringing, and then I can pop my hearing aid and speaker on and take the call. In the night, if there’s an unusual noise he will bat me on my head to wake me up and let me know. If someone is at the door, he’ll pace about in front of me until I get the message.
“I’ve never known a cat quite like him. He loves to be around me – wherever I am, he’s not far behind. We’ve got a very close bond and I wouldn’t want to cope without him.”