WHEN Katie Lloyd brought home a poorly kitten she did not expect him to survive more than a couple of hours.

Aged no more than four weeks, the tiny ginger Tom had got stuck behind a fence and had become very weak before he was discovered.

Katie took the little bundle of fur home to Bradford Cat Watch Rescue (BCWR) which she runs, rehabilitating and rehoming cats and kittens.

She had no intention of keeping him but, in the warmth of Katie’s home, and under her watchful care, he began to gain strength. His battle for life endeared him to her.

“When I brought him back he was so very ill I did not think he would pull through, but, amazingly, he did,” she says.

One of his eyes was missing and the other was severely infected. Just days after his arrival at the rescue, his infected eye ruptured, resulting in emergency life - saving surgery. He was just five weeks old.

Katie named him Carrots. “That was simply because of his colour and he needed a reference name on the BCWR system,” she explains. “Four years later I have a gorgeous boy with a daft name!”

As he started to recover, Katie made the decision to keep him, and watched him go from strength to strength.

As a kitten Carrots had two major operations on his eyes. Since then no further treatment has been needed, but he has been left without sight.

“Initially I was concerned about such a young kitten being blind, however I needn’t have bothered worrying,” says Katie. “Carrots sees with his heart.”

Quick to adapt, he uses his other senses - sound, smell, touch and taste - to live his life to the full.

“He simply got on with life,” says Katie. “Carrots is amazing - he can find his way around the house and garden just like any other cat.

“He goes outside - he runs up to greet people at the gate and even climbs trees. His blindness does not get in the way at all.”

Carrots recognises Katie’s voice. “He knows straight away and always comes to me or anyone else when called by name,” she says.

He has become a much-valued member of Katie’s household.

As well as being Katie’s pet, Carrots has found fame through his role as a therapy cat, visiting Bradford’s Marie Curie Hospice in Maudsley Street off Leeds Road. Once there he comforts patients.

“Carrots loves meeting people - he likes snuggling down with them and snoozing,” says Katie.

Last year Carrots was awarded a prestigious medal as the nations’s most heroic pet, after a search by the charity Blue Cross.

He won the Blue Cross Medal for his role in bringing smiles to the faces of patients and their families at the hospice.

“Carrots really does have a people-focused personality and has proved this in his role of a therapy cat.”

At home he follows a Hill’s Science Plan-based diet. “He also loves a roast chicken treat,” adds Katie.

The rescue centre is run entirely by volunteers who work tirelessly saving the lives of over 500 cats and kittens every year.

It currently has 12 cats with profound disabilities that cannot be rehomed.

“They are known as SENSE cats, living out their days in a Safe, Enriching, Nurturing, Sensory, Environment,” explains Katie.

“These cats have extra special needs - they may be blind or deaf, or physically disabled.

“Here they can live in their home and garden with the elimination of hazards and risks. We are able to provide a completely safe experience for them.”

She adds: “We are also proud to be Yorkshire’s only cat rescue providing 24-hour intensive care to critically ill cats and have recently been described as a Centre of Excellence for cats.”

Carrots has been a great comfort to Katie herself. “Cats have such therapeutic values and Carrots has really helped me through some tough times. He not only has a skill to soothe us humans but his feline friends too.”

The characterful cat sleeps on Katie’s bed along side his friends CC, who also has no eyes, and another cat, Queen Boudicca, who was found in a house by West Yorkshire Police after her owner died.

“There is nothing more relaxing than settling down on a night, snuggled up with Carrots and his friends,” adds Katie.

There is no doubt Carrots is a special cat. “He has taken part in umpteen photoshoots, and seems to enjoy his celebrity status. I am sure he knows that he is a very well-loved and looked after cat. Above all he mine, and I love him.”

*If you have a pet that you would like to tell us about please email helen.mead@newsquest.co.uk or emma.clayton@newsquest.co.uk. Tell us what makes your pet special and why you love sharing your house with him/her.

Have they been a comfort to you during lockdown?

If you would like to see your pet in the T&A please get in touch - and send us photographs too.

*If you would like to donate to the care of cats and kittens at Bradford Cat Watch Rescue visit bcwr-kittens.co.uk, email katiebcwr@gmail.com or call 07942 822509.