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15 June 2016, 12:30 | Updated: 15 June 2016, 12:36
A cat from Romney Marsh who helped his owner through a battle with alcoholism has been shortlisted for a national award.
Four-year-old Frank was just a kitten when he was bought for owner Robin Barry by his wife. Robin had just been discharged from a rehabilitation unit where he had been receiving treatment for an alcohol addiction and was feeling vulnerable, depressed and in pain.
Almost immediately, the pair were inseparable and Robin says Frank is all the inspiration he needs to beat alcoholism.
He said: "I was in a rehabilitation unit and in a very bad way when my wife decided to get this kitten. I’m the first to admit I was always more of a dog person and couldn’t see what the fuss was about at first. But when I got home and met Frank, my heart just melted.
“He became my number one supporter, following me about and being a constant companion. I was on a lot of medication and was very vulnerable and lost but Frank never left my side. With his support, I came through the other side.
Two years later, it was Robin's turn to help his pet on the road to recovery when Frank became seriously ill with a twisted gut. Robin said: "We had no insurance and the vet’s bill was going to be £2,000. But there was never any question of what we should do – Frank saved my life and we were able to save his by paying for the best possible care."
Frank is nominated in the Better Together category and if he wins at the ceremony in August he will also be in with a chance of being crowned the Cat Protection's National Cat of the Year.
Cats Protection’s awards organiser Kate Bunting said: "Frank and Robin clearly have a close bond and it’s truly touching to hear how they have both helped each other. Frank is a great example of the loyalty, companionship and joy that cats bring to the lives of their owners."
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and helps around 200,000 cats and kittens each year through its national network of over 250 volunteer-run branches and 32 centres.