A CAT that saved its owner’s life by keeping her awake during a blood clot episode has been posthumously crowned National Cat of the Year.

Eight-year-old Theo, from Redditch, died just one week before he was due to receive the award, owner Charlotte Dixon said.

When he was a kitten, Theo was seriously ill with cat flu and it was doubtful whether he would survive.

Charlotte stayed up through the night to keep Theo warm and feed him liquidised food through a pipette, which helped him to pull through.

Several years later, Theo came to Charlotte’s aid when she woke up one night feeling unwell.

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"I put it down to a virus," she said.

"I was confused and shaky but thought I should just get some sleep. 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.

"Eventually I decided to call my mum and she called an ambulance.

“The paramedic recognised the signs of a blood clot straight away and said it was a good thing I hadn’t fallen asleep as I probably wouldn’t have woken up.”

She was rushed to hospital and spent a week in the high dependency unit, before making a full recovery.

Charlotte added: "All cats are amazing but I owe my life to Theo. We always had a close bond and I feel this award is a truly wonderful way to celebrate his life."

A panel of judges selected Theo for the top prize at the Cats Protection annual National Cat Awards, having first won a public vote in a separate category.

Ms Dixon said: “I’m devastated that he’s gone but I’m so proud of him for winning. It shows I’m not the only one who thinks he was a really special cat.”

She was presented with a trophy on his behalf during a ceremony at London’s Savoy last week.