Winner of Pet Idol announced

After 454,419 votes were counted in the final round in The Pet Idol Contest, the winner for 2008 is:

Willow, the cat

Described by her owner, Valerie Murphy, as "keen, spirited and affectionate", Willow was voted this year's Pet Idol.

Willow's "rags to riches" story began as she was found as a tiny, stray kitten in the garden of Ms. Murphy's east Toledo home. Willow needed immediate medical attention because of a large puncture wound on her underside. After a full recovery, she has been living the life of a pampered puss and now will become a local celebrity.

Ms. Murphy (and Willow) received a prize gift basket as a top ten winner. This year's winner will also receive an original pet portrait painting by local artist, Lily Spang. Willow's first place finish will be announced in The Blade on Sunday, May 18, and on 13 ABC News. Her photo will also appear on electronic billboards throughout the city and on

When interviewed at Pet Idol's Pets, Paws and Pancakes event featuring the "Top Ten" pets last Saturday at Wildwood Preserve, Ms. Murphy predicted that this would be "the year of the cat". Last year's winner was Diesel, a Siberian husky.

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