Companion and Therapy Cat Perla Helps Teen Girl With Seizures

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Maria Gillon is a 13 year old girl from Midlothian, Scotland, outside of Edinburgh. Her 3 year old black cat Perla is a friend, companion, therapy cat and health aide. Maria and Perla are inseparable, and Perla spends the entire night at Maria’s side.

Maria suffers frequent heart seizure attacks with severe chest pain, due to ventricular tachycardia, a condition where the lower chambers of the heart beat quickly without circulating the proper amount of blood and oxygen to the body and the brain.  She is at risk of having her heart stop and is vulnerable at night, sleeping with only Perla for company in her room.

Maria’s family attest that Perla has saved the girl’s life on numerous occasions. When Maria has an attack, Perla runs to her mother Adele’s room and nibbles Adele’s toes until she wakes up. Then Perla returns to Maria and sits with her until the attack passes or the ambulance arrives.

Perla has been with Maria since she was adopted as an 8 week old kitten. The cat had a close call last summer when she came home bleeding from the mouth and with a swollen eye after being hit by a car.  Perla required surgery where her jaw was wired, some teeth were removed and her split palate was repaired.

Perla was rushed for treatment at PDSA Edinburgh PetAid hospital. Veterinary Surgeon Andrew Hogg, who treated Perla, is quoted in The Scotsman saying, “Perla looked a real mess when she came to see me, she had multiple head injuries.

‘While Perla was staying with us she became a real favourite with the staff; despite her injuries she remained bright and won people over with her personality.

‘What Perla does for Maria is wonderful. We don’t often get the chance to meet such clever cats and it’s wonderful that we were able to reunite them so that Perla can continue to be an inseparable companion for her.”

Adele had prepared Maria for the worst but after the successful surgery both mother and daughter were overjoyed at Perla’s recovery. Adele said, “Perla is a lucky cat and we’re lucky to have her.”





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