A CAT who likes to relax by hugging a teddy bear has been named Britain’s Cosiest Pet.
Neil the moggy likes nothing more than curling up in his basket, sofa or owner’s bed with his cuddly toy.
His owner’s photos of him relaxing at home and embracing the teddy has helped him win the accolade of the UK’s most cosiest pet.
Ginger tom Neil, now three, beat off competition from 1,000 other pets to win the title in a contest organised by the National Office of Animal Health .
The playful cat was nominated by proud owner Richard Powell, from Morley, Leeds, and featured in an online photo gallery as part of the I Heart My Pet campaign to promote physical and emotional health.
Insurance compliance officer Richard said: “I’m so happy the judges found Neil as adorable as I do.
“I have such a great bond with him and I’m very much in tune with how he’s feeling.
When he isn’t himself I make sure I take him straight to the vet.
“I also spend a lot of time with him through play. His favourite toys are his catnip mouse and his scratching post, which he loves to climb on top of.”
Talking about the competition-winning picture, Richard, 27, added: “Neil had a lot of brothers and sisters when I got him so I bought him this teddy bear to cuddle so he wouldn’t be lonely.
“I caught him off guard with the picture - he was asleep, grabbed the bear and rolled over and I took my chance. It was adorable.”
Other cute pictures of Neil show he likes to get cosy with more than just his bear and loves to snuggle in baskets, under duvets, on Richard’s bed and even on books that his owner is trying to read.
The indoor cat was adopted as a kitten when he was spotted by Richard on the website Pre-Loved Pets.
Richard, who lives with a housemate, said: “When I saw Neil I fell in love with him straight away. He’s my only pet and I had actually grown up around dogs but I don’t have a garden and thought it wouldn’t be fair to have a dog so I got Neil.
“I’ve grown up around animals and would love to have more.”
Richard forgot he had even entered the competition and was pleasantly surprised to realise Neil had won and he had got #250 of Pets At Home vouchers although he admitted he didn’t quite know what he was going to do with them.
Richard said: “I’ll get Neil something nice with the winnings - I’m just not sure what yet.
“I completely forgot I had sent Neil’s picture in. He really deserves it, he’s got a nice little personality and he does love a good cuddle.
“I will admit he is a bit grumpy sometimes. But he’s quite easy and he likes being around people.”
NOAH hopes the photo of play-loving Neil will raise awareness of the need for pets to have a warm, safe place to snuggle during the winter months.
He is also a popular character at Abbey House Veterinary Hospital.
Vet Laura Smith said: “Neil looks adorable and comfortable in this picture.
“We’re not at all surprised that he’s won - he’s always relaxed whenever he comes into Abbey House for a visit.
“Richard has clearly taken on our professional advice as well as ensuring he has plenty of safe toys to play with to keep him occupied and purring all day.”