Thousands raised within hours for poorly campus cat

Sylvester the Cat
Sylvester the Cat is easy to spot around the UEA site as he's missing part of his tail [UEA]

Nearly £3,000 has been raised within 24 hours for a poorly cat that has his own clothing line after he made a university his second home.

Sylvester the Cat can normally be found napping and making friends with students at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

His movements have been charted on a Facebook page with more than 5,100 followers so his owner Emily Birkett can keep tabs on him, but there was concern from members when he failed to visit.

"Emily told us he was really poorly and it's really sad," said Amy Marshall, who set up an online fundraiser to help his owner pay for veterinary treatment not covered by his insurance.

She added: "He's got an infection in his heart, fluid in his lungs and a lot of fluid retention... he's just not a very happy cat at the moment."

Sylvester the Cat
Fundraiser Amy Marshall describes Sylvester as the "friendliest little cat ever" [UEA]

Almost 250 people have donated to the page set up on Monday by an initially-reticent Ms Marshall, who said she had been overwhelmed by support.

"I thought if it falls flat, fine, but if it doesn't it could mean the difference between Emily and her family paying for that vet treatment," she said.

"In the first hour we hit £600, by two hours we hit a grand - we've done the best part of £1,200 overnight."

'Celebrity cat'

In a social media post, Ms Birkett wrote: "I don’t think we really appreciated the impact that he has had on others and how much people care about him so... I’d like to say thank you for that and thank you for looking after him and loving him."

Sylvester, dubbed the "celebrity cat" on his Facebook page, lives with his family near the UEA campus.

They will often go to collect him when one of his followers posts his latest whereabouts on the Facebook page.

Last year, Sylvester the Cat T-shirts and hoodies were launched to raise money for the mental health charity, Mind.

The tops, designed by the UEA's commercial wing, were put on sale in the campus shop.

"He walks everywhere round campus - he even lay on some of the lecturers' desks while they've given lectures; he chills out in the cafe," said Ms Marshall.

"He's the friendliest little cat ever."

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