AN ADORABLE cat who helped his owner cope after her baby was stillborn is in the running for a national award.

Mikey, from Southend, has been hailed for helping brighten the life up of Jessica Barnard after her first child, a baby boy, was stillborn in July 2017.

With her partner, Connor, required to return to his Army posting shortly after, Jessica struggled to cope with the loss and retreated away from family and friends.

While the grief was unbearable, Jessica was also suffering physically and needed hospital treatment for high blood pressure.

However, her luck began to change when out of the blue, a friend phoned and mentioned the former stray cat was in need of a home.

With Mikey by her side, the darkness began to lift and Jessica started to venture out of the house.

She said: “I was in a very difficult place and had basically shut myself off from the world. When a friend mentioned Mikey at Cats Protection, something just clicked.

“I had a need to care for something, and he sounded like he needed some TLC.

“When he arrived, everything seemed that little bit better. He was my little friend, always there, quietly pottering about. I felt more relaxed and calmer, and my counsellor noticed I was talking more, which helped me get more out of my counselling sessions.”

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Life on the streets had been hard for Mikey, who needed an eye removed after developing a painful abscess.

Immediately, Jessica and Mikey formed a close bond, and as Jessica helped to nurse Mikey back to full strength, he began to help ease the pain of grief.

The loving puss has now beat hundreds of other entries to earn his place as one of three contenders in the Outstanding Rescue Cat category in Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards 2021.

While four years after losing her first son, Jessica and Connor now have a happy and healthy boy, Jenson.

Jessica, continued: “I was still having treatment for high blood pressure, but after Mikey arrived my blood pressure dropped and I could come off medication. He was thriving, and it gave me a lot of pleasure to see how happy and content he became.

“Mikey brings nothing but love, and we have a very close bond. He is a one in a million to me.”

Category winners will be revealed online on August 5.

A celebrity panel will then decide which cat walks away with the coveted title of National Cat of the Year.