After only a few weeks of opening the rescue, we received an email asking to help for a poor old cat that had been picked up as a stray from a housing estate in a very bad state.
She had been taken in by a kind lady but she could no longer look after her. There was something about this girl that spoke to us and we knew we had to help her. Sybil arrived on a Thursday and immediately we were in love. This poor old girl with sun bleached fur matted down to her paws, a look in her eyes we hadn’t seen in any other animal before and the desperate need for security, love and food overwhelmed us.
Her eyes were piercing green and the croakiest of meows flowed from her mouth every time she saw us. She ate and slept as though she hadn’t had it this good in years and her joy at just being stroked and spoken to softly would radiate from her. This was a very special old lady indeed.
Improving her quality of life
We made the decision to get the flea ridden, matted and smelly coat taken off of her as it was pulling her skin tight and must have been so uncomfortable for her, even if she never showed it. We fed her four small meals a day, and watched her slowly gain weight, she must have been starving for months.
We booked her into the vets to be clipped the following week. She gained strength and weight whilst waiting for her appointment and her personality really started to shine through. She was such a funny girl, she had very selective hearing, if it was dinner time she would hear you bring her food but if you asked her to move a little so you could clean out her chalet suddenly she was deaf! She just wanted to be close to us all the time.
The day came and we took her to the vets, as an old cat we knew this would be risky but life under the heap of matted fur was no quality of life at all. We left our precious Sybil and awaited the call to say she was ok. Thankfully the phone range and we went to collect her.
We made a warm cosy bed for her in our office where she would be comfortable. She was very sleepy and cold following her new hairdo, so we wrapped her in blankets and made her some yummy things to eat.
Sybil the dribble
The days past and Sybil just wasn’t herself, she wasn’t eating and was very weak, we really feared the worst and started to syringe feed her special food. Day and night we stayed with her, keeping her warm and making sure she had everything she needed. Eventually she turned a corner and Sybil the dribble was up on her paws again.
Her nickname - Sybil the Dribble - came about during syringe feeding, as we would end up with more over us than she was eating. It all dribbled down her long white beautiful beard, all over our hands! Yuk!
She gained more strength and started to follow us during our chores round the rescue, supervising us whilst feeding the other guests and making sure we done everything to her high standards. We adored her and she quickly stole the heart of anyone that met her. She even had a wonderful home lined up once she was back to strength again.
Sybil began to eat soft foods but would then be sick shortly after, which was very worrying. We took her straight to the vets but they couldn’t see any problems and her bloods were good. We returned home and Sybil continued with her supervisory duties. Her spirit and zest for life was incredible, this amazing old girl would follow us around the garden and walk some way in tow without hesitation.
The vomiting became worse and she could now only keep small amounts of liquid down and had to be fed standing with her head upright, we became increasingly concerned.
Back to the vets we went and we agreed we would have an x-ray done to see what was happening. Again, this was risky for a cat of her age but we needed to know what was wrong with our girl. The x-ray showed that there was something wrong with her oesophagus as the barium liquid just stopped half way down and disappeared. We decided to call in a specialist with an endoscope to see what was happening, the appointment was later that week.
On returning we decided to bring Sybil into the house, we knew she was growing weaker physically but mentally she was a sharp as a kitten and her zest for life was contagious. She sat on our laps whilst we watched TV, took herself off on adventures upstairs and discovered the delights of sleeping on a big human bed in the sunshine, she had never looked happier.
Giving her a home
The night before her examination, we knew this may be her last night here with us as she was losing weight and couldn’t keep anything down. We climbed into bed with our faithful shadow having followed me, she meowed in her croaky tone and we lifted her gently onto the bed, she curled up in my arms and that’s where she stayed all night, tucked up so close to me I daren’t move, every time she moved I stirred to make sure she was ok. The next morning our hearts and stomachs were doing somersaults worrying about the day ahead.
Off we went to the vets; we handed over our precious old girl after a cuddle and a big kiss to tell her how brave she was. We waited in the waiting room pacing the floor. Minutes seemed like hours, then it came the news we had been dreading, our beautiful, courageous Sybil the dribble had a split in her oesophagus, caused by years of starvation and stomach acids which had weakened it to a point of no return.
Our girl wouldn’t have any quality of life and we knew what had to be done. We went through to the theatre to where she lay, calm, warm and quiet. We kissed her goodbye and stayed with her until she passed gently stroking her head all the time so she knew she wasn’t alone and was surrounded by love.
Sybil had gone, we were both in shock and beside ourselves with grief, we took her for a private cremation so we could have her returned to us to stay at Poppy’s forever.
Loosing Sybil will haunt us forever but we feel truly blessed that she was part of not only our lives but all those who met her and followed her story. She touched so many hearts with her courage and inspirational fight and zest for life. Sybil remains part of the Poppy’s family and she stands for everything we believe in, that all lives matter.
We love you Sybil always xx