A Shrewton cat who can sense when her owner is about to suffer a seizure has been named as a finalist in a national charity award.

Penelope the cat, who lives on the outskirts of Salisbury, was selected as a finalist in Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards 2021.

She beat hundreds of entries to become one of three contenders in the Most Caring Cat category.

The eight-year-old moggy was chosen because she raises the alarm when owner Zoe Elliott, 28, is about to suffer a seizure.

Zoe suffers from many complex medical issues, including craniocervical instability and Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.

The conditions mean Zoe has needed surgery to help her hold her head up, is prone to breaking or dislocating bones, and suffers seizures without warning.

Read more: 'My head is falling off' - Zoe has life-changing surgery

Zoe said: “My seizures often come at night when I’m in bed and can leave me with injuries, but Penelope sleeps with me, and when a seizure is about to start she will run and attract my mum’s attention so she can come and help me.

“She’s not really a vocal cat at any other time, the only time she meows is to get my mum’s attention.”

Zoe adds that after a seizure, when she feels weak and traumatised, Penelope will sit with her while she recovers.

Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting said: “Not only does Penelope help by raising the alarm so Zoe can get the help she needs during a seizure, she also stays with her as a comforting presence while she recovers.

"Penelope and Zoe clearly have a close bond and we hope their story will help more people understand how amazing cats can be.”

Winners of the four categories for the competition will be announced online on August 5.

A celebrity panel will then decide which cat walks away as National Cat of the Year on August 12.

Each category winner will receive a trophy, a £100 pet store voucher, a year’s subscription to Cats Protection’s The Cat magazine and a three month's supply of Purina cat food.

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