Happy Tails: Sybil (formerly Stripe)

Meet Sybil, a brown tabby down on her luck, living with other similarly downtrodden felines in the streets of Toronto. Reluctant to speak of her past, we don’t know what series of events brought Sybil to the Chester colony, and we can only guess that she’s about six or seven years old.  What we do know is that Sybil had never known the warmth and comfort of a safe and loving home. But Sybil was being watched over by those who managed her colony, and a brighter future was yet to come.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, Kevin Wark was preparing to take in his next foster. Kevin began volunteering with ACR by feeding feral cats just like Sybil. One day he thought, “this is a perfectly nice cat, it should have a home too.” This thought prompted Kevin to become an ACR foster home. As his recent foster had just been adopted, he was ready for his next charge.

Back at the Chester colony, and unbeknownst to her; Sybil was soon to be placed in foster care. When she arrived at Kevin’s home she was unsure and shy, initially spending a lot of time under Kevin’s bed. But she also showed signs of enjoying affection and attention, as Kevin notes, “she was always happy to be pet, even while hiding under the bed.” Over the next five months Sybil’s personality blossomed and she started spending time on Kevin’s lap.  Kevin recalls that, “in the mornings, when she wanted to be fed, she would jump up on my bed and start licking my face. I would bury my face in the pillow and she would lick my ears, trying to wake me up.” Sybil was starting to shine.


Enter Sam Spady, a PhD student who had just moved to the city. Sam was in the market for a feline friend, so naturally she went “window shopping” online.  Sam knew she was looking for the perfect older cat with a quirky personality. When she found Sybil, who was then called Stripe on ACR’s website, she suspected it was the right match. Her suspicions were confirmed when she met with Kevin and he told her “all of Sybil’s funny quirks”.

These days, Sam describes Sybil as a “super funny, super cuddle monster”. Sybil has respiratory issues that cause her to make “weird grumbling noises, then she’ll sneeze and rumble” – all of which is delightfully charming to Sam. Sam goes on to say, “she likes to come around and cuddle. When I come home she meets me to jump on the bed so she can be pet.  If I don’t then she’ll make funny little noises to communicate that compliance is required.”

Though Sybil was wary of strangers in foster care, she’s now known to head bump everyone! “She’s a little hesitant at first,” Sam says, “but once they sit down next to her she starts purring like a machine and head bumping them.”


When asked why she was drawn to an older cat, Sam replies, “I liked the idea of already knowing what kind of cat I was adopting… I wanted a cat who was already out of the play all the time phase, but one that I knew would like to cuddle! Syb was the perfect fit.”

And if Sybil could speak in words, Sam says her catchphrase would be “I love you”.

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