Libby Is Named the ASPCA's Cat of the Year for Serving as the Eyes and Ears of a Dog Named Cashew
A ten-year-old marmalade-colored cat named Libby from tiny Middleburg, Pennsylvania has been named Cat of the Year by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) for dedicating her life to serving as the eyes and ears of a blind and deaf yellow Labrador Retriever and Shar Pei mix named Cashew. (See photos above and below.)
Sadly, Cashew has since died but while he was alive Libby would guide him to his food dish and lead him around the house that they shared with their owners, Terry and Deb Burns. Although Cashew may be gone, Libby has not forgotten him and still misses his presence, according to the Burnses.
While there can be no denying that a considerable amount of antipathy always has existed between felines and canines, it also is true that they sometimes not only rear each other's orphaned kittens and puppies but come to the aid of disabled members of the opposite species as well. (See Cat Defender posts of July 17, 2006 and October 15, 2005 entitled, respectively, "Dachshund Named Emma Adopts Quintet of Feral Kittens That Her Mistress Cruelly Stole from Their Mother" and "Elsa, a Rottweiler Feared in the 'Hood, Shows Her Soft Spot by Adopting an Abandoned Kitten.")
In fact, the special bond that existed between Libby and Cashew is not all that uncommon. For example, at the home of Diane and Les Parker in Amesbury, Massachusetts an eighteen-pound tomcat named Yodi served for ten years as the eyes of a blind ninety-pound female boxer and terrier mix named Aspen. (See Cat Defender post of January 18, 2008 entitled "Heartbroken Lancashire Heeler Named Oscar Digs Up and Retrieves the Corpse of His Feline Playmate, Arthur.")
Over the years, Yodi guided Aspen to her food dish, the bathroom, and anywhere else she wanted to go. Unfortunately, the cat mysteriously disappeared over the 2007 Labor Day weekend and this has left Aspen devastated. (See photo below of her and Diane Parker.)
By winning the coveted Cat of the Year award, Libby is joining some rather distinguished company. For instance, last year's winner was a fourteen-year-old gray cat named Winnie from New Castle, Indiana who saved her family of three from sure and certain death by alerting them to a carbon monoxide leak in their house. (See Cat Defender posts of November 12, 2007 and April 23, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Winnie Is Honored as the ASPCA's Cat of the Year for Saving Her Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning" and "Winnie Saves Indiana Family of Three from Dying of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.")
As for Libby, she will be honored on October 30th when the ASPCA holds its annual Humane Awards luncheon in the Rainbow Room at Manhattan's Rockefeller Center.
Photos: Cat Channel (Libby and Cashew and Libby by herself) and Katie McMahon of The Daily News of Newburyport, Massachusetts (Aspen and Diane Parker.)