Last month, in mid-November, we saw the departure of our lovely lady Sybil from the café, and she embarked on a cosy journey of retirement with former Lady Dinah’s staff member, Amber. Although she is hugely loved by every member of the team, she showed clear signs of growing weary of café life and a readiness to depart to a forever home where she wouldn’t have to share any laps or chin rubs. We were aware that she’d become much more reserved in the last few months of her time with us, and she didn’t interact with the other cats as much as she used to, even though she still loved wandering over to humans for a cuddle and a fuss (and sometimes a snooze on a winter coat). The welfare and happiness of the cats in our care always comes first, so, while we were sad to say goodbye, it’s a joy to see her thriving in her new home as the centre of attention! That being said, it seems fitting to give Syb one final send-off with a round-up of the team’s favourite memories of her and the (almost) three years she spent in the café.
1. First up is a tale from her humble beginnings, and a story that is much celebrated in Lady Dinah’s lore -- she was born in the Lady Dinah’s office back in 2017 after Mimi, a heavily pregnant mouser from a restaurant nearby, was brought in to have her kittens. Sybil and her siblings (Salome, Dorian, Cecil and Ernest) were brought into the world right underneath one of our office desks!
2. Number two is a general appreciation for her personality. Although her mum was a tough and feisty lady, Sybil is the polar opposite. She’s a super gentle soul and an absolute sweetheart; she will befriend anyone who gives her some attention and fuss.
3. The third point follows on from this: Sybil absolutely loves to be cuddled and stroked and will often wander over to peoples’ legs as a subtle hint that she is present and ready for a rub on the cheeks or a little pat on the bum. She’s in her element when she has a human cuddling her!
4. Next up is her passion for snoozing and also her go-to choice of bed: peoples’ coats. Once Sybil has strolled over to a chosen person and been sufficiently fussed by them, she has been known to flop down onto a coat, jacket or scarf beside them and promptly fall asleep. Her sister Dorian also enjoys indulging in this activity - perhaps coat cosiness runs in the family.
5. Number five is her other prime choice of bed (and this one actually is a bed!) -- in mid-2019 a barrel bed was brought into the café and Sybil immediately claimed the top cushion as her own. She snoozed in it for most of the day and for some of the evening, too. She liked to knead the edge of the cushion, and eventually started suckling it as well. She would purr loudly as she did so, and suckled until the fleece material was tatty and worn! We think something about doing this reminded her of being a kitten with her mother, though she’s the only one from her litter with this penchant. We wonder how Amber’s soft furnishings are holding up…
6. As the previous points suggest, Sybil isn’t overly active and sleeps a lot. However, when she wants to play she can go wild running around - which is number six in the things we’ll miss about her! She’s pretty clumsy, and has a hilarious little run that she shows when she gets excited. It’s quite a rare sight and a bit of a privilege when Sybil plays with you and it would always brighten up a Cat Carer’s day when they got some physical activity from such a lazybones.
7. When Sybil does get around to playing she can get quite possessive of the toys she’s enjoying. It’s hilarious to see such a chilled-out cat get all proprietorial, and it’s the seventh thing that we’ll fondly remember about Miss Syb. It’s not even just toys, but beds and shelves, too! However, because she’s not particularly confrontational, she’ll usually resign herself to a staring contest if anyone takes what she considers to be her rightful spot. Usually, though, her plan of action is to claim a space and refuse to move. Clever lady.
8. Number eight is moving on to her appearance -- she truly is a gorgeous girl! She shares similar looks with her siblings but the best way to pick her out from the feline crowd is by the little beauty mark on her cheek. It’s super elegant and very Marylin Monroe-esque, and really adds some charm to her cheeky little face. In addition, her white front legs make it look as though she’s wearing white satin opera gloves! She’s always extra fancy for every occasion.
9. The ninth point is also about her looks and is just as cute and arguably still quite glamorous: she has fine silver hairs throughout her black fur that lead people to believe she’s an older cat, even though she’s not even three years old yet! Pairing that with her calm disposition, it really does seem like she’s an old soul living in a young body.
10. Finally, number ten is something that Sybil started doing towards the end of her time in the café. She got into the habit of over-grooming one of her front claws, which was a behaviour that first tipped everyone off that she may be stressed and need to retire. After her claw had been treated by a vet, she had to wear a cone to ensure she wouldn’t pick at it anymore. This didn’t stop her trying, though! Staff members would often catch Sybil with her paw up, licking away at what was actually just the inside of the cone! The poor dear had our sympathy, but it was quite an amusing sight to behold.
There you have it! Ten of Sybil’s little quirks that everyone in the café has grown to cherish. It’s bittersweet that they can’t be witnessed at Lady Dinah’s every day anymore, but it’s so exciting to see how she will continue to grow and thrive in her ideal household with her new family. Happy retirement, Sybil!