Tabby Charlie is award finalist for alerting diabetic owner if her blood sugar plummets

Kirsty Furness with her husband, Alex, and hero cat Charlie.

Kirsty Furness with her husband, Alex, and hero cat Charlie. - Credit: Archant

A cat who can detect when his diabetic owner’s blood sugar drops to dangerous levels is a finalist in the National Cat Awards.

Tabby Charlie, who lives in Stevenage with his owner Kirsty Furness and her husband Alex, has beaten hundreds of entries to become one of three contenders in the Outstanding Rescue Cat category, which celebrates cats which have been adopted from animal charities.

Charlie was selected as a finalist for his ability to wake Kirsty, who has Type 1 diabetes, when her blood sugar drops dangerously low.

Although some animals can be trained to recognise and alert owners to such medical emergencies, Charlie – who was adopted from the RSPCA – has never received any training.

Kirsty, 28, said: “During the daytime, I can manage my blood sugar very well, but there are occasions when it will drop when I’m sleeping, and this can be very dangerous as it can lead to a fit or a coma.


You may also want to watch:


“Sometimes I wake up myself, but there have been many occasions when I have only woken because I can feel Charlie persistently batting me on the face and making a very loud yowling sound. If Charlie wakes me, I check my blood sugar and I’ll find that it’s low.

“He’ll follow me to the kitchen while I get something to eat or drink to bring my blood sugar up and won’t leave my side until everything is normal.

Most Read

“He is a really special, intuitive cat and I find it quite astounding he can do this without any training. He just seems to be very in tune with his home life. We really do think he’s an absolute star.”

The annual National Cat Awards are run by welfare charity Cats Protection and celebrate the heroism, loyalty and companionship in the feline world.

The winners will be announced on August 3 and, if Charlie wins his category, he will have the chance to be crowned National Cat of the Year.

Awards organiser, Kate Bunting, said: “Charlie is clearly a much-loved pet and enjoys a very close bond with his owners.

“It’s amazing to hear that, not only will Charlie raise the alarm, he’ll also stay around while Kirsty brings her blood sugar back to normal, which must be very comforting.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter