Cat lovers up and down the country have been casting their votes to decide the winner of this year’s Big Cat Nap, the annual sleepy pet photo competition in aid of Born Free.
Born Free received hundreds of entries during the week-long competition (2nd-8th July) which raises awareness of the plight of big cats in the wild, and also raises funds for Born Free’s work to protect threatened species such as lions, cheetah, leopards and tigers.
Two incredible cats – Charlie, a super-relaxed 10-year-old black and white rescue cat from Cambuslang in Glasgow, and Max, a chilled-out 12-year-old Bengal, adopted from the RSPCA in London, were chosen as finalists and social media users asked to decide between the two, with Charlie taking the top spot by a whisker!
Charlie was adopted from Cat Action Trust 1977, and his brothers are Rigby and Dudley.
Charlie’s owner, Deborah McKibbin said: “We’re all very proud that Charlie has won the Big Cat Nap! He loves nothing more than snuggling, especially with his Dad and two brothers. He’s had a lot of health issues to overcome but is always sweet and understanding. We love him very much.”
Max’s owner is children’s author Lauren St John, whose new mystery novel, Kat Wolfe Investigates, is about a girl who starts a pet-sitting agency to make extra pocket money, and features a huge rescue cat called Tiny.
She said: “Max and I are so excited that he’s runner-up in Born Free’s #BigCatNap. Like Born Free, I believe that every individual animal matters, and it was in that spirit that I went in search of a rescue Bengal 10 years ago. Max was two when I found him and, since birth, had been locked in a tiny cage with nine other cats in a back bedroom. I like to believe that he chose me. Writing can sometimes be isolating but not with Max around. He’s so incredibly smart, loving and mischievous. I can honestly say he’s my best friend.”
Both Charlie and Max’s photos will be used to promote next year’s Big Cat Nap.
Six-year-old super-fundraiser Thea Caine from Burnopfield, in Newcastle, raised over £700 for Born Free by taking part in big cat themed activities all week. With help from mum Cheryl, pet cat Charlie and family and friends, Thea successfully undertook a mini-triathlon, a game of tiger tennis at her tennis club in Blaydon, wild cat reading, lion wall art, a tiger swim video, sci-fi cosplay as M'ress the Catian from Star Trek, big cat themed baking, and even her own Big Cat Nap, which saw her stay in bed for 17 hours!
Thea also produced an incredible lion documentary (https://youtu.be/1gY41mzZP4U) and hosted a Big Cat Nap party for 14 of her friends from Burnopfield Primary School, in County Durham, where they did tiger face painting, lion art, played tiger tag, sang karaoke (amazing renditions of Katy Perry's Roar!), musical catues (freeze in a cat pose) and musical bumps.
Thea is also running the mini Great North Run with her dad Paul, who will be dressed in full lion costume, on 8th September. Her sponsorship page is still open at: www.justgiving.com/theacaine
Charlie: Big Cat Nap Winner 2018
Max: Big Cat Nap Runner-Up 2018