Casper The Invisible Kitten
by Elisa Black-Taylor
Casper on Thursday
Good morning everyone. Today I have a story that will leave you laughing and crying at the same time. I want to tell you about my latest rescue, Casper. Especially how he got his name.
I first saw Casper on the GCAC rescue list last Wednesday. He was listed as a stray with the word "emaciated" after his name, which was Scrawny. I'll be the first to admit I had no plans to add another kitten to my sanctuary so soon after rescuing Mister Tom. But that cute little face! And the "I'm ready mama-come and get me" expression he had on his face changed my mind.
Scrawny had the most beautiful long black hair you've ever seen on a cat. It was love at first sight!
I emailed the shelter that I was on my way for him and had already gotten fifteen miles from home when I finally got them on the phone. It was then I found out he couldn't leave until Saturday since there is always a hold on strays in case they are claimed. So a very disappointed me turned the car around and went home.
I knew Scrawny had conjunctivitis. I was worried some vet would come in and decide he should die rather than be given a chance to get well. I emailed rescue coordinator Andrea and asked her to please not let him be euthanized because he was sick. I also told her if he could be released early to email me and I'd come get him.
The next morning (Thursday), I awoke to an email telling me he was being tested and I could pick him up after noon.
I made this rescue solo as my daughter is still trying to give birth to kidney stones and didn't feel like traveling. I took the cat carrier into receiving and asked for Scrawny only to be told they couldn't find him. Andrea was still working on him and once Andrea was found my kitten was found.
Scrawny didn't look as bad as I'd pictured. He was on the thin side and his eye looked bad. To be honest, I've nursed several kittens in worse shape back to health.
Now for how he got his new name. Let's just say all of the other felines named him. I took him inside, opened the carrier door and out he walked. My daughter sat down and held him. The other cats and kittens did NOTHING! Even Mandy, my furry welcoming committee acted as though she didn't see him. All of the cats were going about their business and didn't even stop to say hello to the new addition. That's when I decided to call him Casper after Casper the friendly ghost. My new kitten is INVISIBLE to other cats!
Yes, I realize Casper the friendly ghost was white and my kitten is black. My daughter was fast to point that out to me. I love his name. It suits him.
I got to studying the paperwork on him and I'm amazed he's even alive. He was turned in as a stray after being found on Interstate 85. That has to be the most dangerous highway in the state of SC. I hate to think what poor Casper has gone through in his young life. Don't forget we had a blizzard (8+ inches of snow) a few weeks ago. I'd judge him to be about 8 weeks old. How on earth did he survive on his own?
My daughter has been keeping his eyes cleaned out using a mixture of raw honey melted into half a cup of chamomile tea. She also applies an antibiotic cream twice a day. His eyes are now clear and bright.
There's always the question of where to fix a cat bed for a new kitten. The first night Casper jumped behind the couch so Laura put a blanket, food and water down for him. The next morning he was in the box on the kitchen counter where most of the cats have slept at one time or another.
Now all he has to do is take two steps out of the box and there's the community food bowl and a water bowl put out just for him. He's eating canned food twice a day and dry food in between. He feeds about every three hours.
He's still invisible to the other cats. I feed him and the other three kittens from my first rescue at the same time. I call this "friendship training." Here's a video of their first meal together. I wish my kitchen had more light. It's still a cute video.
The other kittens eat with him, but no one has asked him to play or take a nap with them yet. Maybe he's still too weak and they realize this. It took them more than a week to start playing after they arrived. No one fights over the food and it's a joy to watch our new baby eat with the others. I'll be glad when he's healthy enough to play.
Yesterday afternoon my dog Darla paid attention to Casper for the first time. She climbed up on the bar to watch him eat. When Casper returned to his box, Darla stayed on the bar to keep watch. Later I carried Casper over to the couch so I could hold him. Darla was in my lap at the same time. When one of the cats came near us, Darla barked to defend him. I know Darla thinks she's a cat, and now she thinks Casper is her baby. My daughter even assured Darla that Casper looks just like her. Okay, we lied to a dog. I'm curious to see how their relationship progresses.
Casper is a feral through and through. He hissed at us every time we got near him the first few days. We're giving him l-lysine with a medicine dropper to prevent an upper respiratory infection. He clamps his jaws shut really tight when we get near him with the medicine. Every feral I've had does this clamping down defense. I don't know if that's normal for all ferals or just the ones I've had the pleasure of knowing.
About 11p.m. I got a text message from my daughter. She told me Casper had climbed out of his box and come over and climbed in her lap for some petting.
It's amazing how fast this little kitten has come to trust us. He was purring the second night. He peeps over the top of the box to see what's going on in the world around him.
I think he knows he's living the good life now and he's grateful. The shelter is running over capacity now. Monday was kill day. I dread looking at the Rainbow Bridge album once it's updated.
I'm just glad I got one more out before it was too late. Casper's glad too.