A WOMAN who was left blind in one eye after a street attack has described how her cat helps her cope.

Sparky, who lives with Kirsty Ayre in Clydebank, has been named one of three finalists in Cats Protection’s National Cat Awards.

The tortoiseshell puss was selected in recognition of how she helped her owner cope after she developed post-traumatic stress disorder following a series of devastating events.

The 36-year-old was still recovering from losing both parents within a year when she was attacked under a railway bridge on Dumbarton Road near Cable Depot Road in 2016.

The two assailants aimed a laser pen at her eye in a random attack that left Kirsty blind in that eye.

She had to give up her job as a postwoman and was left suffering from crippling panic attacks – while her attackers were never caught.

Throughout it all, Sparky has been by her side.

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Kirsty said: “I had been out walking when two men stopped me and pointed a laser pen into my eyes.

“It was terrifying and when I got home I collapsed in a heap. The pain was unbearable, and I was confused and scared. Sparky knew something was wrong and wouldn’t leave me alone.

“I lost the vision in one eye immediately and that has never come back. But, really, it’s the emotional strain that’s hardest to deal with.

“Ever since, I’ve been afraid to go out and I’m always jumpy. I had to give up work as I couldn’t see.

“All this was on top of losing my parents, which I took very badly. But Sparky has been there the whole time.

“She knows when I’m down and will stick to me like glue. Having her to care for has kept me going when I have wanted to give up.

“I have another health condition which means I can sometimes faint, and when I do, Sparky will pat my face until I come around. I find it really hard to leave the house but because of Sparky I’m never alone – it’s me and her against the world.”

Sparky beat hundreds of other entries to earn her place in the Most Caring Cat category, which celebrates felines that have a positive impact on their owner’s wellbeing.

If Sparky wins her category, she will be in with a chance of being crowned National Cat of the Year, following in the paw prints of previous winner Theo, who helped his owner Charlotte Dixon survive a potentially fatal blood clot.

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The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony at London’s Savoy on Thursday, August 8.

Kate Bunting, Cats Protection’s awards organiser, said: “Sparky and Kirsty’s story is incredibly touching and shows the positive effect cats can have on their owners’ lives during times of great stress. Through difficult circumstances, it’s clear that Sparky has been a constant source of comfort and companionship in Kirsty’s life.”