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Hazel Parkyn of Dorset, England, has type 1 diabetes, and if her blood sugar drops too low, she can go into seizures or even fall into a coma. Unfortunately, complicating the matter was that Hazel’s husband, Darren, often had to work night shifts, which made nights somewhat risky for Hazel. Thankfully, an unlikely helper was nearby: her cat Walter. The first time her sugar got low and Walter woke her up, Hazel didn’t understand what was going on.  


Hazel said,”The first time he helped me out, he was smacking me around the face with his paw.” Her cat was so persistent that she finally turned her light on, and when she did, she noticed how blurry the room was. She thought her blood sugar must be low, and it turned out it was at a potentially life-threatening level. It was then that she became aware of what Walter was trying to tell her. Since then, Walter has done the same thing over and over, and he now stays by her side at night to be her warning system. 


Studies have shown that cats’ sense of smell is 14 times stronger than humans. The chemical change that can happen in a diabetic is too subtle for our nose, but it is likely cats can detect it. “When Walter comes in at night and settles on the bed,” Hazel said,” I feel safe.” As of 2020, Walter has saved Hazel’s life over 50 times.