Cat Sanctuary

Sylar – Update

Sylar continues as a work-in-progress. From the time Claire first featured him on the blog he established himself as a pretty hissy feral boy. But as with many ferals, the hissiness is teamed with a fascination for humans and their doings.

Just warning us off…

Sylar made the back courtyard his “beat” – usually on the deck of the Newcomers, or out in the area below. Leslie routinely looked out for him, and he would hear her voice and come to investigate. Occasionally he would allow himself to be petted, and then would need to learn all over again that petting was not too scary. Leslie pointed him out to me a while ago, but I never managed to get further than one-sided conversations and the odd scratch – touching was out!

This is the typical view of Sylar…

Then back in February we noticed that he had contracted the cat cold that goes the rounds. Like most colds, there’s not a lot you can do (warm baths and drinking lots of OJ are obviously not for cats!), and we don’t need to be treating a cold virus with antibiotics. But really snotty colds can also indicate a bacterial component, so Sylar was netted and caged in the double-wide for treatment and TLC.

Unfortunately I have no photos from this period – he was in one of the less well-lit cages, and my camera has several dark blurry images from attempts to snap him. He hung out behind his drape, making warning angry noises when anyone entered his cage. But a lot of it turned out to be bluff – once I ignored the hissing and braved an outstretched hand, head-rubs and purring ensued, and then his bottom would go up and he’d try to roll over on his shelf with ecstatic wiggles.

Shall I stay, or shall I hide round the back?…

One of the things we love about the Sanctuary is that cats are not caged for any longer than they have to be. All too soon, Sylar was released, and vanished back into the back courtyard, and I have to begin over again. He’s become more consistent in the company he keeps and where he hangs out; he seems to be good friends with shy Quinn, and visits him around Waldie’s House, and he can often be found behind the cat-bed shelves on the west side of the courtyard.

Sylar hanging out with Quinn

He knows my voice, but is not yet ready to accept petting from me; if I sit on the floor of the courtyard he will circle around me at a radius that began at about 6-foot, but is slowly diminishing. He will occasionally accept a tidbit, but is not really food-motivated – and if food is produced, the producer is mobbed by the ravenous horde led by Owl, and Sylar backs off. So for now, it’s just patience and repetition. He’s become one of my sponsor cats, and though I hope that’s a long-term relationship, I also hope it won’t take too long to get better acquainted.

I’m pretty cute, even if I am hissy…

Blog by Brigid Coult
Pictures by Brigid Coult & Michele Wright