This miraculous moggie is a real life-saver – as he can detect when his diabetic owner’s blood sugar drops to a dangerously low level.
Kirsty Furness, 28, has Type 1 diabetes and tabby Charlie paws at her arm and yowls when he thinks she might be in danger.
The remarkable rescue cat has woken her up dozens of times in the last four years – each time alerting her to her low sugar levels.
Left untreated, Kirsty could fall into a coma or even die, but Charlie remains by her side until her levels returns to normal.
Kirsty said: “It might sound like an exaggeration to call him a life-saving cat but he really is.
“He bats and yowls in my face to get me up. The noise is horrific.
“If I didn’t wake up, I could go into a coma or die.
“He doesn’t leave me alone until I get food and drink and as soon as my blood sugars go back up he goes back to bed.
“He’s really the most amazing thing to ever happen in our lives.”
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce any insulin and is managed through injections of insulin and the regular intake of food and drink.
Kirsty was diagnosed with the condition when she was five-years-old and quickly learned to spot when her blood sugars dipped when she was awake.
She wears an insulin infusion pump which drip-feeds insulin through a needle into her stomach.
But he must regulate her blood sugar by eating and drinking regularly as she could suffer blindness or lower limb amputation if they are too high or low.
However, she struggles to notice the symptoms when she is asleep – and as a child relied on her mother to wake her up and get her the help she needed.
But after meeting her husband Alex Furness eight years ago, she became close to Charlie – unaware of his hidden talents.
Kirsty said: “Charlie has always been very affectionate with me but the diabetes thing only developed when me and Alex started living together four years ago.
“He has always slept in our bed and has been known to wake us up in the mornings when he’s hungry.
“But one night, he wouldn’t leave me alone and kept scratching at me until he got my attention.
“I keep my blood testing kit next to the bed so thought I’d check my levels after waking up.
“They were low and so I went to the kitchen to get a drink and something to eat. Charlie followed me and would only go back to bed when they returned to normal.
“Once that had happened a couple of times, we realised what was going on. It’s just incredible.”
The couple, from Stevenage, Herts., have no idea how Charlie knows when Kirsty’s sugar levels have dropped but assume she must give off a scent that he can detect.
Kirsty, who is studying to be a paediatric nurse, said: “I used to always check my levels when Charlie woke me up but because they’re always low I don’t bother any more. He’s always right!
“Hypoglycaemia can be brought on by exercise, stress and just life in general.
“It makes me feel tired and lethargic and disorientated but they’re hard symptoms to detect when you’re asleep.
“It’s just a good job Charlie is around at night. We think he’s a real hero.”
Although some animals can be trained to recognise and alert owners to some medical emergencies Charlie – who was adopted from the RSPCA – has never received any training.
Because of his life-saving skills, Kirsty and Alex have nominated 20-year-old Charlie for a Cat Of The Year Award, hosted by Cats Protection.
They hope his story will inspire more people to adopt older cats, who are often overlooked for kittens.
Alex, a manager for Marks and Spencer, said: “We love him anyway but think what he can do is amazing.
“He was ten years old when I adopted him and he has proved that older animals are just as amazing and deserve just as much love and attention as younger cats and kittens.
“People shouldn’t be put off adopting an animal simply due to their age.
“We’re thankful everyday that he chose us, and for all the love and humour that he’s brought to our lives
“I can certainly sleep sounder knowing Charlie is around to keep an eye on Kirsty.”
Kirsty and Alex will attend the ceremony in London tonight (thu) on Charlie’s behalf and, if he wins the Outstanding Rescue Cat 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.”