When Fraser met Billy: ‘The rescue cat that transformed a little boy’s life’ tells the extraordinary story of Fraser, a little boy with autism and Billy, the unassuming grey cat who changed his life.

when fraser met billyWhen Fraser was born, his mother, Louise, realised that there was something wrong with him but no one listened to her, or took her concerns seriously. The health visitors told her to give him more love and Fraser was 18 months old before he was diagnosed with autism and hypotonia (a muscle tone condition that affected his ability to walk or use his hands). Louise and her husband Chris were given the devastating news that Fraser would never go to mainstream school.

Chris’s job took him to the Balmoral Estate in Scotland so the couple moved with Fraser, who was only a few weeks old, to a beautiful, but isolated cottage in the grounds of the Queen’s summer residence, Balmoral Castle.

Billy had been abandoned, left in a house to fend for himself, when Fraser was three years old. His temper tantrums were escalating and Louise was having a very difficult time. When Fraser first met Billy, the cat purred and laid his paws upon him. A new period in Fraser’s life had just begun and miracle after miracle lined up in the wings courtesy of the angel Billy and his seemingly unfaltering understanding of what Fraser needed.

It’s well documented the healing power of animals, especially cats. Their calming influence and benign natures prove, time and time again, that they instinctively know what makes us humans tick and they hone in on our feelings and emotions. So it was with Billy. Bedtimes were always a screaming match and took hours for Fraser to settle. Once Billy was on the scene, purring his reassurance Fraser calmed down and the bedtime routine was no longer a long, drawn out fraught affair.

Bathtimes were a nightmare and Fraser especially hated having his hair washed. Billy would stand upright, with his paws on the side of the bath, keeping Fraser calm as Louise washed his hair.

Fraser couldn’t negotiate the stairs but given some special Piedro boots to aid his balance, and with Billy waiting half way up the stairs, Fraser learned to climb the stairs. He would always be rewarded with a gentle headbutt and purrs from Billy.

Louise thought she was imagining things at first as events which would normally cause Fraser to go into meltdown gradually became ’normal’ and more manageable; Billy was usually nearby and Louise began to put two and two together.

The book is full of wonderful anecdotes of Billy’s patience and understanding of Fraser’s special needs but it also chronicles the heartbreaking miscarriage that Louise suffers and her downward spiral into depression.

Perhaps the most amazing thing of all was when Fraser started mainstream school and proved all the consultants, health officials and physiotherapists wrong. All the usual childhood milestones that were going to be off-limits to Fraser were eventually gained with the help and constant presence of Billy.

As the press release said ‘Louise is a strong, determined and resourceful mum. Billy is an extraordinary cat. Their profoundly moving story will touch everyone who reads it.’

I was greatly moved by this book. Having had cats for the past almost 30 years and knowing first hand of their incredible intuitive sense from my own experiences, I can guarantee that this is a book that will really make you feel good. You might, if you’re not a cat owner, decide to go out and get a cat. But if you already have a cat or cats, then you’ll look at your friend(s) and nod with the silent recognition that all cats are special and have a great deal to offer us humble humans.

Published in hardback on 11th February 2014 by Hodder and Stoughton, the ISBN number is: 978-1-444-76922-7. It’s also available as an ebook on this link:

When Fraser met Billy

A 3 minute You Tube link will show you Louise talking about Billy’s profound effect on Fraser – plus you’ll see Fraser and Billy interacting together

You Tube – When Fraser met Billy

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