Hilo is a Savannah cat, a cross between an African serval and a domestic cat. He arrived at The Wildcat Sanctuary in 2008, just two years old at the time.

Authorities contacted us after Hilo had been trapped. He was named after the place he was from – Hilo, Hawaii – where it’s illegal toHilo_savannah_stand possess a hybrid or wild cat.

Learn more about hybrids and why we do NOT support breeding them.

Life at the Sanctuary

Hilo was shy when he first arrived at the sanctuary. Who could blame him after the long journey he had?

But he quickly found his inner prankster. He loves any enrichment we give him and any he can find on his own.  He loves biting and scratching at it.

Whether it’s chasing fish in a kiddie pool or ripping apart a pinata in the snow, his caretakers keep him very busy with lots of challenging enrichment activity.

And if there’s one cat here at the sanctuary who found his BFF, it’s been Hilo. He’s lived with Sebastian, a Bengal hybrid cat, for many years now and they truly are inseparable.

We could fill an album with the number of cute photos we have of these two having fun together. It’s always nice when the cats can spend their days with others of their own kind.

So much goes into caring for our residents – from the daily rounds, to cleaning, feeding, giving medications, enrichment, etc.  Once a caretaker notices anything’s out of the ordinary, it’s reported to our vet and senior team right away.

Hilo has always been under close watch because he has a chronic herpes virus.  In 2019, when he first had an eye issue, we didn’t want to assume it was just the herpes virus flare up again. So, we had him examined by our vet.

Luckily, we did because Hilo had an injury that had ulcerated his cornea. We’re not sure how it happened.  After eye drops and follow-up exams, the eye was not healing and was causing Hilo discomfort.  The decision was made to remove the eye. Within a few days of surgery, Hilo was already back to his happy self.

And we think he’s certainly as handsome as ever!

How You Can Help

Caring for a wild cat for life – even a small hybrid like Hilo – can be quite expensive. Hybrids usually come to us with special needs, genetic and/or medical issues due to their breeding.

Our sponsorship program helps support the cats’ care costs and allows you to form a special bond with them. Would you consider becoming Hilo’s sponsor parent?

Or even a one time donation toward his care would be so appreciated. It’s easy to do using the buttons at the top of this page.

Thank you for caring about the little wild ones, too!


Hilo has had chronic health issues due to the herpes virus since he arrived. He receives ongoing support and medical attention. Most recently, he had an ulcer on his eye which was not healing after several treatments. For his comfort, veterinarians removed the injured eye. You can see it hasn’t slowed him down a bit. He still loves to play with toys and his habitat mates.