A CUTE kitten who became a therapy cat when her owner lost her mum to cancer is now a super-meow-del who has worked with Stella McCartney and Vogue.
Sazsa Silvaz took in little Starina after searching online for a white pedigree short haired cat when her mum Simmi was diagnosed with terminal cancer three years ago and hoped having a pet would bring comfort to them both.
The kitty was by their sides as they came to terms with the devastating news and even joined Simmi for her chemotherary sessions.
And when Simmi passed away in April 2015, Saza, 34, spoke to her doctor to have her registered as an emotional support cat.
Sazsa said: “Starina had been there for both of us through such a difficult time. Emotional support animals aren’t really recognised in the UK.
“But my doctor wrote me a letter saying I was suffering with stress and anxiety after losing mamma, and that I needed to have Starina with me.
“She travels around in my handbag and comes to restaurants and shops and everyone loves her. I’ll go into Boots and be surrounded by people fussing over her.
“Mamma told me she wanted me to learn to drive after she passed away and she even joined me on my driving lessons and test.”
Sazsa started up an Instagram page for Starina while her mum was ill and the pair enjoyed dressing up the cat and posing for fun pictures.
After Simmi died, she carried it on, and the adoration the cat got from her social media followers helped Sazsa cope with her loss.
She even attended Simmi’s funeral at Golders Green Crematorium in North London.
She said: “It was like it was an emotional crutch. People would say how much Starina had made them smile and that helped me.
“Then I went into PetLondon, a shop for pets, to buy a new carrier for her and owners Melody and Adam, who also run PetLondon Models, spotted her and asked if they could sign her up as a pet model.
“I was thrilled. She has one blue and one green eye which they said was very striking. And she was so used to the camera anyway from all the photos I’d taken of her.”
Once she was on the books of PetLondon Models, offers came flooding in from brands like Thomas Cook, Hendricks Gin, ASOS and Vogue.
Starina earns up to £300 a day as a model, and Sazsa is with her on each assignment, and she has a pet passport meaning she can travel all over the world.
Sazsa, who lives in Watford, said: “It really has been like a whirlwind and I’m so proud of her. Because we are so close, she makes a great model as she follows commands.
“She walks on a harness and lead, and she’s always so calm as she’s so used to being around people and visiting new places.
“But she’s more than a superstar. There’s a saying that the colour green symbolises earth and blue is for heaven, and when I look at her eyes it’s like she was sent to look after me.
“She may be famous and have a fabulous life, but it’s like she’s my guardian angel too.”
A version of this story appeared on Mirror Online.
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