Pet Feature: Skylar one of ‘sweeter’ cats at shelter

Steven Rogers, cat kennel supervisor at the Winchester SPCA shelter, holds Skylar. The cat would be a good indoor cat in an active household, Rogers said. Photo by Henry Culvyhouse

WINCHESTER — In a little room at the Winchester Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals animal shelter, 10-month-old Skylar the cat swats at a toy dangling from a stick. But it wasn’t always that way.

Skylar came to the animal shelter last July as a stray, with his four brothers and sisters. As his siblings went home one by one, Skylar, the last of the litter, quickly found himself alone, due to an upper respiratory infection. After overcoming that, he was neutered, a standard procedure at the shelter, but he had a terrible reaction to the anesthesia that caused him to be so lethargic veterinarians thought he had a heart condition.

Today, Skylar is one of the “sweeter” cats at the SPCA shelter, said Steven Rogers, cat kennel supervisor.

“He has a tendency to love everything, he doesn’t have a problem with other animals or kids,” Rogers said. “A lot of people want a cat they can love and they can pet and can do a little bit of everything. Skylar is all that.”

While Skylar is friendly, he may take a little time to warm up to a new owner, Rogers said.

“When the kittens come in, they go out pretty quick, but every once in a while, you get one they linger and end up growing up in the shelter,” Rogers said. “His developmental stage was here, but he has done really well considering the fact he grew up here.”

Rogers said while staying in a shelter can be “a little traumatic for a kitten,” he recommends starting not only Skylar, but any shelter cat, off slow to their new living situation.

“I would start him off in a room, let him get used to that one room, then gradually open up more of the home to him,” Rogers said. “They’re coming from a small environment, so they can get shocked when they are introduced to big spaces.”

Rogers added, “He has a wonderful personality for being at the shelter for so long, so I don’t think he’ll have a hard transition. You just have to give him time and patience.”

Because of Skylar’s development at the shelter, Rogers said the cat probably would be best if kept indoors with an active household.

“He doesn’t recall a time he was outdoors, so he doesn’t know what outdoors is,” Rogers said. “As long as he is with a family or somebody who can give him attention and show him some love, he’ll be very happy.”

However, just because Skylar would make a great indoor cat, a prospective owner should probably not get him de-clawed, Rogers said.

“He’s not a real problem scratcher, he doesn’t seem to have any issues with constantly clawing on objects,” Rogers said. “Given his reaction to anesthesia, I don’t think it would be wise to de-claw him. Regular claw maintenance and a scratching post should do the trick.”

While the Winchester SPCA shelter accepts any food donations, it tries to stick with Purina because it is healthy and affordable, Rogers said. However, in Skylar’s case, Rogers said any new owner should keep a bag of Hill’s Prescription i/d on hand, just in case he has digestive troubles.

“He does good on Purina for a while, but every so often his stomach gets upset and he’ll throw up,” Rogers said. “So we switch him over to i/d food for a while and it works, then we try to switch him back to the Purina.”

Skylar is a black and white domestic shorthair who weighs 9 pounds and is not picky in what he plays with, what he eats and who he loves. Rogers said with Skylar, “what you see is what you get” and in this case, it’s love and affection.

The Winchester SPCA is located at 115 Featherbed Lane in Winchester and is open Monday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Those interested in Skylar or any other animal at the shelter can contact 540-662-8616 for more information.

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com