Welcome to our new monthly feature, “A day in the life of…” which will share the tale (or should that be tail…) of some of Syros Cats best-loved residents. This month, we’re hearing from Hailey who has a particularly sweet story behind her name…

I don’t mean to break things.  I’m just not as graceful as some of the other cats.  Somehow, when I jump, I always seem to land on something that slips, so I have to struggle to avoid falling and often make a noise that’s enough to attract the anger of my human mom.  The other cats get irritated by me as well and keep their distance.  But that’s fine by me.  If they come too close, I hiss and puff up my tail.  I’m a big cat anyway, so I think this makes me look really threatening – but often the others don’t take much notice.

I get up when my mom gets up as I’m always hungry for breakfast.  I’m a bit protective about my food, so I get fed separately and don’t have to guard it.  But I eat very quickly and have plenty of time to try to steal more.  Of course, I prefer the meat, so I gobble that first, then do a round of the kitchen in case any of the other house cats are off their food.  Usually I’m unlucky and go back to fill up on biscuits.  I’m not really complaining.  Life is good here at Syros Cats.  I have plenty of food, fresh water, a comfy bed and lots of cuddles.

But it wasn’t always like this…

I don’t remember how I arrived here, but it was about three years ago and I was very scared.  As a tiny kitten – somehow, I lost my mother and followed the food.  There were lots of big cats and I was too timid to eat from the same dish, as they spat and hissed.  So a kind volunteer gave me an old cage, with some bedding.  She put my own portion of food inside, so I could eat in peace.  I stayed in the box most of the time, only coming out when it was safe.  Then one day, there was a terrible storm, rain, hail, thunder and lightning.  I was terrified and hung onto my box as it started to move, rolling in a torrent of water and finally getting wedged at the bottom of some steps.  I was cold, wet and shivering when my volunteer found me and so scared I forgot to fight when she picked me up, wrapped me in a towel, put me in her bed and cuddled me until I got warm.

After that I lived on her bed.  My rescuer was called Linda and I didn’t trust anyone else.  If I felt threatened, I just hid under the bed. I was still very scared but life was better inside.  She called me Hailey because I survived a hailstorm.  I don’t go in boxes anymore and fight hard if someone tries to make me!

Then one day she left…

She did talk to me before she went, but I don’t understand much human speak and soon realised I had to be braver on my own.  After a while I ventured out of my room and found others who would cuddle and care for me. I have a litter tray so don’t have to go outside much, it’s still scary there.  I’m big now and spend a lot of the day in the kitchen, I have a favourite place on top of a cupboard, where I can check who is coming in and guard against intruders.  I’m not allowed to be mean to the other house cats, but I know who is allowed in and who is not!

In the evening, I make sure I’m always around at food time, then after a quick wash – I’m proud of my immaculate soft fur, I’m ready to settle down on someone’s lap or in a tiny space on the sofa.  I like to feel snug.  I sleep so well that I don’t even notice if the other cats get close.  We all want a share of the human cuddles. I usually spend the night on my new mom’s bed.  I have to share, but that’s OK, I feel safe now and know I’ll be well looked after.  To make matters better, she has a heater in her bed, which I love and a cooling fan in summer.

All in all, life is good at Syros Cats. I think I’ll stay for a while…

A huge thank you to the whole team at Syros Cats, who have given Hailey (and many more like her!) the safety and security of shelter life. Special thank yous to Jacky for capturing Hailey’s words so wonderfully, and to Jo Flynn Richardson for capturing Hailey’s good looks on camera!

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