For a handsome tuxedo cat, there are some names that immediately come to mind. Who doesn’t remember the antics of Tweetie-Pie’s arch-enemy?
So with the number of Bobbys that have passed through our hands at the Sanctuary, it’s interesting that there have been so few Sylvesters. The first Sylvester I knew, you can meet here – he was a large cat who lived in the Moore House with the older inhabitants. Today’s Sylvester came to us as a pretty suspicious boy in the winter of 2011, and it took him a good while to decide that humans were to be trusted. I understand there was an earlier Sylvester who passed in 2009.
He was picked up from a farm near Steveston Highway, but we think he may have been a stray rather than a feral. He had already been neutered, and his right ear is slightly notched so he may be a TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) cat like Luke or Marilee, though their ear-clip is much more obvious. He is one of the cats with a shortened tail, with a lump at the end – whether an injury or a genetic marker, we don’t know. For a good while he held himself apart from the usual swarms of cats that greet a visitor, but he’s very food-motivated, and it wasn’t long before he was hovering hopefully on the edge of the crowd.
He caught the eye of long-time volunteer and Board member Karen Yu, who made something of a project of him, coaxing him closer and closer until he allowed himself to be handled. He’s still very picky about who he allows to touch him; if there is no food on offer, he’d rather curl up somewhere separate and watch what’s going on.
Sylvester only made himself known to me a couple of years ago, even though he’d been at the Sanctuary since 2011. One day, I showed up and noticed that there was a black and white face peering through the fence. Since that time, I’ve found him at the gate almost every time I arrive so I make it a point to spend time with him, whether to give him treats and/or give him some attention. Last year, Sylvester had some balance issues so I spent quite a bit of time in his cage with him. His short crooked tail reminded me of one of the first cats I took home from the Sanctuary, Lanny, and Sylvester’s habit of waiting for me by the gate was reminiscent of another favourite, Tex. Seeing Sylvester faithfully wait for me is hard to resist, so I have to admit that he gets the majority of treats that I bring, although other front courtyard cats like Cagney and Blaze have learned that being in Sylvester’s vicinity gives them some benefits. I hope that because of the time (and treats) I spend with Sylvester that he has become more comfortable being around other people, so that others can also see what a special cat he is.
He’s not one of the actively antisocial cats like Leland, but he’s pretty picky about his feline company as well – not a snuggler, but willing to sit next to a chosen friend for a little while. He and his tuxedo pal Miller are two of the cats that are not interested in volunteer Laurie’s Sunday fish offerings; they would much rather pig out on Temptations!
He knows and loves Karen, coming to meet her on the evenings she’s working at the Sanctuary. The fact that she has a pocket full of treats doesn’t hurt! And you won’t hear him saying “Sufferin’ Succotash!” like his namesake. It’s more likely to be “More crunchies, please!”