Braunston boy's cat companion makes competition finals for helping him face challenges of autism and ADHD
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A cat from Braunston who helps a teenager cope with ADHD and autism is through to the finals of a national competition.
Teddy is always there to help Harry Batchelor, 13, through his struggles and anxiety.
The one-year-old puss has now been named as a finalist in Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards 2022.
He beat hundreds of other entries to take his place as one of three contenders in the Furr-ever Friends category, which celebrates tales of friendship between children and cats.
Mum Lucy said: “The combination of moving up to secondary school and lockdowns have been very hard for Harry and as a result he is not able to attend school at the moment. It means life can be quite lonely for him, and he struggles a lot with anxiety when leaving the house.”
She said Harry was desperate for a kitten and helps with extra chores around the house to buy equipment for the new addition.
Lucy said: “In the summer of last year, we got Teddy, who has been an incredible support and friend to Harry ever since. Teddy has a wonderful calming influence.
"Having ADHD means Harry can be loud and energetic, but Teddy helps him to calm down, and is so trusting where other cats might be scared. If Harry gets upset or angry Teddy helps him to settle. They are inseparable – wherever Harry is, Teddy is never far behind. They clearly adore each other and taking care of Teddy has been great for Harry’s confidence.”
She said Teddy has been a distraction from the bad moments, and a friend to share fun times with.
Harry says that Teddy just makes him happy, and that’s what makes Teddy so special to the family.
Lucy, Harry and sister Loren, 15, now face a nail-biting wait until August 4 when winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at London’s Savoy Hotel, an event attended by celebrities including entrepreneur Deborah Meaden, Lioness Ellen White, actress Gaynor Faye, drag artist Ginny Lemon, Dancing on Ice star Frankie Seaman and ex-England footballer David Seaman MBE.
Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards, organised by the UK’s largest cat charity, is an annual celebration of the real-life stories of heroism, loyalty and companionship in the feline world.
If Teddy wins his category, he will also be in with a chance of being crowned National Cat of the Year, following in the paw prints of previous winner Minty, a three-legged cat from Holywell, Wales, who helped six-year-old Connor Raven cope with severe learning difficulties and medical conditions.
Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting said: “Harry and Teddy’s story shows what an amazing impact cats can have on the lives of children, particularly those who face extra challenges. We’re so pleased that Harry has found such a wonderful friend in Teddy and we hope their story will inspire more people to adopt a cat.”
Category winners will each win a prize package of a trophy, a £200 pet store voucher and a year's subscription to Cats Protection's The Cat magazine. The winner of National Cat of the Year will also receive an additional overall winning trophy.