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Honey the cat helps young boys cope with father’s death

PUBLISHED: 14:10 05 June 2018

Honey the cat, from Lowestoft, could be named cat of the year in recognition of how she helped Herbie and Luca cope with their father's death. Photo: Cats Protection

Honey the cat, from Lowestoft, could be named cat of the year in recognition of how she helped Herbie and Luca cope with their father's death. Photo: Cats Protection

Cats Protection

A feline friend who helped two young boys cope with the sudden death of their father has been named as a finalist in a national cat of the year competition.

Herbie, 7, with Honey the cat. Photo: Cats ProtectionHerbie, 7, with Honey the cat. Photo: Cats Protection

Eight-month-old Honey, from Lowestoft, beat hundreds of entries to reach the final three in the ‘Furr-ever Friends’ category - celebrating the bond between children and cats - at Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards.

The ginger was selected in recognition of how she helped Clara Paolantonio-Hoad’s two sons cope following the death of their father, Chris.

Luca, 11, and Herbie, 7, were left devastated after Chris died aged 45 in February last year, less than three months after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.

The family faces a nail-biting wait until August to see whether Honey wins her category at the awards. Photo: Cats ProtectionThe family faces a nail-biting wait until August to see whether Honey wins her category at the awards. Photo: Cats Protection

“There really aren’t any words to describe how difficult the past year has been and the boys have taken it very badly,” said Mrs Paolantonio-Hoad. “There has understandably been a lot of anger and tears.

“I wanted to get a cat as a distraction and something for us all to focus on, but I had no idea just how much Honey would help Luca and Herbie.

“We got her seven months ago and since then she has had the most remarkable effect on the boys and is helping them mend their hearts. She’s silly, funny, playful and puts the laughter back in our home, something that had been thin on the ground for a long time.

Winning her category at the awards would given Honey a chance of being named National Cat of the Year. Photo: Cats ProtectionWinning her category at the awards would given Honey a chance of being named National Cat of the Year. Photo: Cats Protection

“She seems to know how much the boys need her and is always there for them to talk to. She’s brought the joy back into our lives and we really do think she’s one-in-a-million.”

The family now faces a nail-biting wait until August 2, when the winners will be announced during a ceremony at London’s Savoy that salutes real-life stories of heroism, loyalty and companionship in the feline world.

If Honey wins her category, she will also be in with a chance of being crowned National Cat of the Year.

Herbie, 7, with Honey the cat. Photo: Cats ProtectionHerbie, 7, with Honey the cat. Photo: Cats Protection

Cats Protection’s awards organiser, Kate Bunting, added: “Honey is a very special cat and we’re so pleased she has been a source of comfort and laughter at such a difficult time. Despite everything they’ve been through, Luca and Herbie have done a brilliant job in helping their new cat settle into their home, and the three of them are clearly devoted to each other.”


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