Today, she has been named Cat of the Year by the ASPCA who said they picked her not just for ability to paw out a tune, but because she was an adopted feline and what better way to promote the adoption of cats than to show of the talents of Nora.
Ten remarkable animals and people, including Nora, the piano-playing cat, and a dog who helps a disabled veteran, will be honored for their heroic deeds on October 29 at this year’s ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon in New York City. The event recognizes animal heroes who have made extraordinary efforts to impact the lives of animals during the past year.
Among the 2009 ASPCA Humane Award winners are:
ASPCA Cat of the Year
When Betsy Alexander and Burnell Yow visited an animal shelter in Cherry Hill, N.J., they never imagined they would adopt a feline prodigy. Nora is a 5-year-old gray tabby whose special piano-playing skills quickly became a YouTube sensation, drawing more than 15 million page views and inspiring a Lithuanian composer to arrange a symphony in her honor. Nora is a talented example of how shelter pets — far from being castoffs — often make the best animal companions.
ASPCA Dog of the Year
Archie is an 8-year-old black Labrador retriever who serves as an assistance dog and social lifeline for Sgt. Clay Rankin. Rankin suffered spinal injuries while serving in Iraq, and Archie is his primary caregiver and social safety net. Archie’s loyalty and perseverance in helping Rankin accomplish his daily tasks has allowed the veteran to regain his confidence and independence.
ASPCA “Tommy Monahan” Kid of the Year
Eleven-year-old Monica Plumb in Powhatan County, Va., decided to make a real difference after seeing a news story about a pet that was saved from a house fire due to the use of an oxygen pet mask. Monica launched PetMask.com to collect online donations to purchase pet masks for fire departments, and has since purchased more than 50 mask kits for fire stations in nine different states. (This award is dedicated to Tommy Monahan, a 9-year-old Staten Island boy who perished in 2007 trying to save his pet from a house fire.)
For more award stories, visit the ASPCA’s website.