Charlotte Dixon saved her cat Theo’s life when she first adopted him. She probably never imagined he would repay the favor when his odd late-night behavior may have saved her from a dying of serious blood clot.
Now Theo has been named “Cat of the Year” in the National Cat Awards, run by the Cats Protection League in London.
But he couldn’t be there to accept it in person. Theo died about a week before the ceremony, and was given the honor posthumously, the BBC reported.
When she first got Theo as a kitten, he was ill with cat flu, and things weren’t looking good, Dixon told ITV News.
“When he was ill as a kitten, I wouldn’t give up on him as I knew he had a real spark and a will to live. I fed him round the clock with liquidised food through a pipette, kept him warm and talked to him a lot. I think that’s what’s always made us so close,” she told the site.
He recovered, and the two were inseparable. Then something happened in 2015 that made their bond stronger than ever.
“When I woke up in the night feeling unwell, I put it down to a virus. I was confused and shaky but thought I should just get some sleep,” Dixon told the BBC. “Theo wouldn’t let me and was behaving very strangely and out of character. He kept batting me with his paw, meowing and jumping on me — keeping me awake.”
She called her mom, who came over and called an ambulance, Sky News reported.
“The paramedic said he thought I might have a blood clot and I told him that I was just tired because my cat had kept me up all night. He then said it was a good job I hadn’t gone to sleep, because if I did have a blood clot I probably wouldn’t have woken up again,” she told Metro UK.
It later turned out that a blood clot had moved from her lower leg into her abdomen, and she spent a week in the hospital before making a full recovery, according to the site.
Years later, the judges of the National Cat Awards selected Theo for the top prize as well as the Purina Better Together award.
“All cats are amazing but I owe my life to Theo,” Dixon told the BBC.
Only a week before Theo was scheduled to accept his award, he died. But Dixon told the awards association that only “made his win all the more poignant.” She accepted the trophy on his behalf.
“I’m devastated that he’s gone but I’m so proud of him for winning,” Dixon said, according to ITV News. “It shows I’m not the only one who thinks he was a really special cat.”