Tink has been named top cat at the Cats Protection National Cat Awards Ceremony after she saved her family from a fire before needing to be rescued by a firefighter herself. Five-year-old Tink had bravely leapt onto a bed to raise the alarm as the blaze took hold while her owners Claire and Russell Hopkinson and their sons Jake, 19, and Scott, 22, slept in their home in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in England.
At the awards ceremony held at The Savoy in London on July 26, the brave tortoiseshell kitty was crowned overall winner after first scooping the Hero Cat category. Owner Claire, who was at the ceremony to accept Tink’s award, said, “Tink has always been a much-loved pet, but not a day goes past when I’m not grateful for her actions on that day. If it wasn’t for her, the outcome could have been horrific. She is our true hero.”
The family had been sleeping at their home in the early hours one morning in February when an electrical fault in a neighboring property sparked the fire. “I was fast asleep when I felt this thud on my legs and realized it was Tink,” said Claire. “She doesn’t sleep on our bed, and it was unlike her to be on it. As soon as I opened my eyes, all I could see was white smoke.”
Claire continued: “We quickly got out of the house, but in the commotion, Tink took fright and hid behind a cupboard. When the firefighters arrived, they asked if anyone was in the house, we explained [that] our cat was. A firefighter went in and found her, but when he brought her out, she was unconscious and limp. We were heartbroken and thought we’d lost her. But the firefighters had a special oxygen mask for animals, and Scott sat in the fire engine holding it on her for an hour until she came around.”
She added: “I can’t explain how relieved and happy we were [that] she pulled through. Tink is a truly special cat. We love her to bits. She’s our hero and an essential part of our family, and we’re so proud of her for what she did.”
Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards is the United Kingdom’s largest celebration of real-life stories of companionship, bravery, and survival in the cat world. Tink was first chosen as the winner of the Hero Cat category by celebrity judge Anita Dobson before being chosen as the overall winner by a panel of judges, including actor Paul Copley, singer Saffron Sprackling, former Hollyoaks actors Carley Stenson and Danny Mac, and musician Rick Wakeman.
In addition to the honor of being crowned National Cat of the Year, Tink and her owners received a trophy, a pet store voucher, a year’s subscription to Cats Protection’s The Cat magazine, and a three-month supply of PURINA® pet food.
Tink follows in the paw prints of a long line of feline heroes honored by Cats Protection. Previous winners have included Jessi-Cat, who was celebrated for helping a seven-year-old boy cope with selective mutism, a condition which affects his ability to speak, and Nelson, a one-eyed former stray from Durham County, who survived nearly drowning and 15 years in harsh living conditions.
Winners of the other categories at the National Cat Awards ceremony included the in-house therapy cat Houdini, owned by Harri, 10, who is on the autistic spectrum and has anxiety attacks. Houdini took home the Furr-ever Friends prize.
There was also Jessie from Peterborough, who won Outstanding Rescue Cat award for the comfort she brought Tracey Jessop-Thompson and her husband Stephen when their 18-year-old daughter Lucy died suddenly from a cardiac arrest as a result of an undiagnosed heart condition.
Peggy from Dundee took home the Special Recognition Award for her companionship, loyalty, and support that transformed the life of her owner Kirsty Oliphant, who has a long history of mental health issues.
Meanwhile, Spike from Abergavenny was awarded Most Caring Cat for the support, companionship, and inspiration she brings to Maria Price who was left paralyzed almost overnight by a rare illness. What a brave bunch of kitties they are! We couldn’t be happier that they’ve got the recognition they deserve.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Yours.