Casper the Cat: A “Tail” of Rags to Riches
The Funnel family don’t know how old Casper was when he made their house his new home. You know how cats like to do that! What they do remember is how thin he was; how nervous he was around people and how he wouldn’t let anybody touch him. 4 years later and the transformation from ‘street wise’ to ‘sofa softy’ has been nothing short of remarkable.
Vikki Funnel, New Leaf Animal Society supporter contacted us to tell us more.
'We knew where Casper came from. He lived with a young family in an apartment building on the other side of our fence. We saw him jump out of the window occasionally which was terrifying because they lived on the second floor.
Casper liked to hide in our garden. Sometimes, when we put food out for the local foxes at night, we would catch Casper eating it. When we tried to approach him, he would always run away. Which is why we were so shocked to find him sleeping inside our garage one day! There he was, nestled in a wooden box amongst some old motorbike rags. He must have been injured or exhausted because he let us get close enough to leave him some bits of food and water.
After that, Casper was a regular fixture around the place. He patrolled our garden, and the gardens of all our neighbours, sticking closely to hedges and hiding in the undergrowth. Every morning, we would find him fast asleep in the garage. We fed him but still, nobody could get close enough to stroke him or to check on his condition. By this time, we had a pretty good idea about Casper’s story. We spoke to the family with the second-floor apartment who explained that Casper wasn’t a kitten anymore, so they didn’t want to keep him. They weren’t interested in our pleas to reconsider so we adopted Casper into our own family.
The first thing we did was renovate an old chicken shed into a waterproof shelter for Casper. Much to the disappointment of the ever-hopeful Mr Fox, the chicken shed hadn’t seen any chickens inside it for years. It was perfect. We cleaned it, inside and out, then we cut it in half to make it smaller. We strengthened the chicken shed steps and lined the inside with plasterboard. We gave it a new roof and filled it with blankets. After that, we waited. Casper had been watching us work so it didn’t take him long to start investigating. With a few cat treats to coax him inside, Casper made the chicken house his safe place. He lived in it, outside for years.
We worked very hard to earn Casper’s trust. We let him know that it was ok to come into our house by leaving doors and windows open, but he always preferred the chicken house. We fed him, we washed the chicken shed blankets and made sure the place was always weatherproof. So, you can imagine my surprise when I came home one day to see Casper,
sitting on the living room sofa. He was looking at me, right in the eye as if to say ‘what? what are you looking at?’.
We were delighted. Casper gained lots of weight and trusts us enough to play chasing games with him now. He likes feathers tied on string and the brightly coloured cat wands. Over time, we learned how to approach Casper and now we hear him purring which is something we didn’t know whether he could do. He likes to roll on the patio in the sunshine and occasionally he jumps into our laps, albeit for very brief moments. Casper dribbles when he is really (really) happy and he still prefers an open window to an open door. Good job we live in a bungalow!
Casper is a very loving, very loved cat. The change in his character has been astonishing. All an animal really needs, after food and shelter, is love. I implore anyone who can give an unwanted animal like Casper a home, to do so. Even if it’s only for a short period of time fostering. I can promise that the rewards will be huge and very long lasting; for everyone.'