Mum's joy as autistic son forms 'special bond' with cat called Chicken

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Chicken the cat has become Elliot Abery
Chicken the cat has become Elliot Abery's support animal (Image: DAILY MIRROR)

Chicken is a very special tortoiseshell cat who has formed an incredible bond with her young owner. The 10-year-old moggy acts as a support companion to Elliot Abery, 11, who has autism and suffers with anxiety.

Just talking about his faithful feline friend is enough to calm Elliot when he faces any kind of stressful situation and when he needs some peace and quiet but doesn't want to be on his own, Chicken is by his side for company and a soothing purr. Mum Jenny, 45, from Thatcham in Berkshire, says the cat has brought a real sense of peace to their home and helps Elliot cope with his challenges: "Elliot and Chicken share a special bond which is unlike anything I've ever seen. Chicken is a one-in-a-million cat.

Mum's joy as autistic son forms 'special bond' with cat called Chicken eideeidediqxzinvThe Mirror's Pet Club

"I have always had cats in my life, but Chicken is particularly special and over the years has helped transform our home into a calm sanctuary for Elliot."

The pair spend all their time at home together, whether it's cuddling under blankets or playing games, and their friendship is a huge source of comfort to Elliot.

"Elliot talks about Chicken a lot, and she's incredibly important to him. When he's had a tough day or is struggling with anxiety, talking about Chicken has a calming effect on him.

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Mum's joy as autistic son forms 'special bond' with cat called ChickenElliot Abery and his pet cat called Chicken (DAILY MIRROR)

"We joke about how lazy she can be, or what she may have been up to while he's at school, and it helps him re-focus if he's been stressed.

"Taking care of Chicken is very important to Elliot, and he always wants to make sure she's happy and she just dotes on him and is never far from Elliot."

Jenny adds: "Sometimes my son needs quiet time, but he may not necessarily want to be alone. Having Chicken by his side means there's someone there who doesn't have any expectations of him – he can just sit and be himself with Chicken.

"She always does things to make him laugh and this is part of her charm. Their bond highlights how incredible cats can be for autistic people, particularly children."

PET PIC

Mum's joy as autistic son forms 'special bond' with cat called ChickenTy with Bruno de Brito and Lee Szopa from Penarth

This is Ty, Britain's oldest ever rescue dog, who spent a very happy Christmas cuddling up with his delighted new owners.

The Staffordshire Dalmatian cross, who is 22, was left homeless after a change in his family's circumstances last August. Dogs Trust Bridgend took him in and made a plea to find the OAP - old age pooch - a home. When Bruno de Brito and Lee Szopa, from Penarth, saw his picture, they couldn't resist making him part of their family.

Bruno says: "We have two other dogs, six-year-old Gizmo, a Chihuahua cross, and our beautiful 15-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier Fizz. Lee has been concerned that Fizz is getting on and one day his mum sent us the information on Ty from Dogs Trust's website to reassure him that Fizz could have many more years to enjoy life. That had unintended consequences! As soon as we read about Ty we knew we wanted to go and see him and find out if we could give him the new home he deserved."

CATS CORNER

Mum's joy as autistic son forms 'special bond' with cat called ChickenCats Protection (Cats Protection)

Top tips for you and your cat, with answers and advice from our friends at Cats Protection.

My vet told me my cat is overweight. How can I help her to lose a few pounds?

It's a good idea to ask your vet for advice on an appropriate feeding regime to ensure your cat gets enough nutrients, without being overfed. Never starve your cat or put them on a crash diet. Any period without food is potentially dangerous for cats so a slow steady weight loss is ideal. Weighing food out daily is a helpful way to control portions and to ensure you make safe and gradual adjustments to their food intake.

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If you like to give your cat treats, either use their regular food, out of their daily allowance, or reduce the amount of normal food you provide and consider putting treats in an enrichment toy to provide exercise and mental stimulation.

Mum's joy as autistic son forms 'special bond' with cat called ChickenExercise is important to help cats to maintain a healthy weight (stock photo) (Getty Images)

Exercise is important to help cats to maintain a healthy weight, encouraging play is a good way to increase their activity as well as helping your bond.

It can take as much as a year for a severely overweight cat to reach its ideal weight - weight checks during this time can help you monitor how your cat is doing.

- Sarah Merrett, Central Veterinary Officer

Find out more: www.cats.org.uk/cat-obesity

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Sharon van Geuns

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