The Adventures of Caspar
Caspar’s story began when I received an email early last July. A couple were trailing their caravan along a country road in Abruzzo, southern Italy, when they saw the tiny kitten sitting in the middle of the road and narrowly missed hitting it. Wrote Lola: ‘I got out to move it, and the guy from the house in front came out and told me no, it wasn’t from there and I had to take it away. I saw what I assume was the mother cat looking for it, but he told me no it wasn’t the mother, and it wasn’t his cat so I couldn’t leave it there.
The kitten with its blue eyes and seal pointed pale coat looked remarkable like a Siamese He journeyed on with the couple as they crossed the Straits of Messina and arrived in Sicily. On my advice, Lola took him to a vet who prescribed treatment for his eyes. Like so many cats in southern Italy he was suffering from an upper respiratory infection, which manifests in oozing from the eyes and can result in blindness if untreated.
The emails increased. Lola told me she had no intention of keeping the kitten, they would shortly be moving on and insisted I find someone to take it. Animal rescue in Sicily is a tough assignment; there is a scattering of people and a few shelters, some of which are dubiously run. I put out an SOS on my Facebook page and was delighted when Alessandra replied. She agreed to pick up the kitten and take it home to Messina, a near by town. Meanwhile, Lola had sent me the first photographs of the little creature, which showed that he looked definitely like a Siamese.
What impressed me at that point was the incomprehension of many tourists in Sicily of the dire situation of its feline population. They appear to think the procedure is the same as might happen in the UK, i.e. good refuges where they could be taken. In this case, I was SO lucky to find a solution.