Two Hastings cats are up for a national award

Two cats from Hastings who bring joy into the lives of residents at a nursing home have been selected as finalists in Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards 2021.

Brother-and-sister duo Weasley and Jinx beat hundreds of other entries to take their place as one of three contenders in the Most Caring Cat category, celebrating cats that have a positive impact on people’s health or wellbeing.

The two-year-old moggies were selected as finalists in recognition of the positive effect they have had on the lives of residents at Southdowns Nursing Home in Hastings, which looks after people with a variety of physical and/or mental health needs, including dementia.

Associate practitioner Darren Fouracre said the pair arrived as kittens at the home in the summer of 2019 and had gone on to have a huge positive impact on the lives of both residents and staff.

Hastings cats Weasley and Jinx SUS-210727-103200001

He said: “It has been incredible to witness the life-changing effect both cats have had on the residents. They have a hugely calming influence, and the residents love it when they curl up on their laps.

“We’ve had some residents who barely speak but have spoken to ask about the cats or began talking to them. For other residents, the cats bring back memories of happy times which can be hugely beneficial.

“They bring great joy to the residents, but in the past few months we’ve also noticed something particularly moving. When some residents have been nearing the end of life, we’ve found that Jinx is particularly drawn to them, and chooses to stay with them during their final hours. It’s incredibly moving, and also exceptionally comforting.

“The cats are there in the good times and the more difficult days, always bringing a smile to everyone. They are loved by residents and staff alike, and we would not be without them.”

Staff and residents at the home now face a nail-biting wait for the category category winners will be revealed. A celebrity panel will then decide which cat walks away with the coveted title of National Cat of the Year, announced on Thursday August 12. Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting said: “It is incredibly touching to hear how much comfort Weasley and Jinx bring to so many people.”