A Ghost Story: The White Stray Cat Who Found His Home

By Fran Olmstead, Inspiration Included

In the middle of Canadian winter, a story of warmth and compassion unfolded. This is the remarkable tale of Ghost, a pure white stray cat who embarked on a journey from the icy wilderness to the loving embrace of a newfound family.

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Chapter 1: Ghost's Mysterious Arrival

It all began in the late summer of 2021 when a striking white cat with gorgeous blue eyes, made his first appearance on my property. He was an enigma, watching from a distance, his presence as elusive as the name we gave him, Ghost. We couldn't have known then just how profound an impact he would have on my life.

At first glance, Ghost appeared to be feral, without a family. He often would sit on my fence with his hind leg dangling awkwardly. He was a timid would and would flee when I moved closer to him. But as I observed him more and more I sensed that he was yearning for attention.

I began leaving food out for him on the front porch as by this time I was sure he did not have a family. He quickly learned my feeding schedule and would come to eat every night, like clockwork.

Day by day, I gained a bit of his trust but he would never let me close to him, scurrying off as soon as I tried to approach.

Chapter 2: Preparing for a Harsh Winter

With the bitter Canadian winter on the horizon, I knew Ghost was in for a tough winter outside. I decided to build him an insulated house, complete with a heating pad at the back and a bed of straw at the front to keep out the bitter cold. I also added a few stuffed friends to cheer him up, a pink monkey and a Yoda stuffy.

I installed a camera inside the house that would soon reveal a heartwarming revelation - he immediately claimed the house for himself and started using the new house the very first day that it was available for him!

From then on, Ghost spent 90% of his days inside and only left once a day to have his meal and do a quick tour of the neighbourhood, before returning to his cozy den.

Outdoor Cat Houses

Chapter 3: A Growing Need for a Home

While watching the video footage, I learned that Ghost kept himself surprisingly clean and would groom himself for hours. I admit that I spent more hours then I perhaps should have, watching videos of him sleeping, stretching, and grooming and I quickly saw his caring personality shine through.

It became clear to me that Ghost needed more than just a shelter; he needed a home and a family. I needed to help him and make up for all of the hardships that he had endured and offer him a him with me.

Take a peek inside Ghost's cozy den...

Chapter 4: Preparing for the Unknown

I began preparing a space within my house for his arrival. If I was able to trap Ghost, he would temporarily stay in the laundry room away from my other two cats. I had no idea if he would warm up to human interaction, let alone the idea of living with other cats, so I needed to take precautions.

I prepared the supplies needed, including a live trap, a dog crate litter box, super soft blankets, etc.

I then set out the trap on my porch and my son helped me tie it open so that it would not trigger quite yet. For the next few days, I would put his food inside the trap and gradually move it farther inside each day. Ghost was quite hesitant and took extra care when accessing the food, but his hunger allowed him to push his boundaries and enter the disarmed trap to eat.

Chapter 5: We Got Him

On the fourth day, the trap was finally set to trigger and I waited impatiently to see the outcome. I was very happy when he was successfully caught, although he definitely didn't appreciate it at the time!

He was transfered inside the garage and given some food to try to make peace. A blanket was placed over his cage to try to keep him calm. He was understandably terrified, but spent his first night inside the trap, waiting to go to the vet the next morning.

He had no idea what he was in for next...

Chapter 6: A Life-Altering Diagnosis

Ghost's journey continued the next morning at the local Humane Society, where he was provided with a much-needed neuter and essential vaccines. His ear was also tipped to mark him as sterile in the event that he would be returning to live outside. Ear-tipping is a standard practice, so if you see a cat with a section of their ear missing, it's likely that they have been trapped and then spayed or neutered.

It was then that we began to discover the extent of his past hardships – a severely broken hind leg that had healed in an awkward position during his time in the wild. Still he was somehow able to get around well-enough and didn't seem to be in pain.

A few weeks later, the time came for Ghost's next set of vaccines, and this visit would be to our local vet.

The vet's examination and blood work revealed terrible news: Ghost had Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), similar to HIV in humans. In cats, there is currently no treatment, so it is paramount to keep any FIV-positive cats as healthy as possible due to their conpromised immune system.

In addition, the vet reported that his teeth and gums were in terrible condition. One of his canine teeth was broken off at the gum line, and several others needed to be pulled. He had a bad build-up of tartar and was at risk of serious gum disease and losing more teeth if left unchecked.

He was booked in for a full dental cleaning, under anesthesia and the removal of several broken and rotten teeth. He received several stitches to close up his gums, but made a full recovery thanks to the great care of our local vet.

We now use natural dental chews to help keep his remaining teeth and gums in good shape.

Chapter 7: Ghost's Terrifying Transition Indoors

Transitioning from the wild to indoor living was terrifying for Ghost. He was paralyzed with fear and would hide whenever anyone entered the room where he was being housed. Yet, when we reviewed the camera footage, we found that he was playing with toys and soon found some favourites. Little did he know I was watching...

With patience and determination, I worked to gain Ghost's trust. I sat quietly in the room, trying to be as unthreatening as possible. I tried many things, including using long wooden spoons with treats to gradually build a connection. Over several weeks, he surprised me by allowing me to touch him and eventually even seeking my company.

Ghost's Favourite Toy

Watch how playful he was when I wasn't around...

Some of Ghost's Absolute Faves

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Chapter 8: A New Normal

Ghost's diagnosis changed the dynamics of our home, as I already had two cats. I needed to ensure they coexisted peacefully. I created "safe zones" by adding an extra door to the entrance to one of my rooms, allowing me to rotate the cats for attention while avoiding aggressive interactions. My hope is to eventually harness-train Ghost so that he can be in the same room as the other cats, but for now, cautious separation is crucial.

Ghost, once the alpha cat in the wild, now has a heart of gold. He craves human attention and affection, often demanding it when we're away. He's become quite the conversationalist, communicating with us through his many meows. His appearance has also changed; his once-round face, a result of being an unaltered male, has transformed since his neutering.

Chapter 9: A Lifelong Bond

Ghost's journey, from a frightened stray to a beloved family member, is a testament to the transformative power of love and patience. In the depths of the Canadian wilderness, he found not only shelter but also a home filled with love and a family who cherished him. And in saving Ghost, he saved us in return, proving that sometimes the most profound connections are born from the most unexpected circumstances. Ghost, once a mysterious presence in the cold, is now a warm and cherished part of our lives, reminding us daily of the power of compassion and the resilience of the heart.

Ghost's Endearing Legacy

Ghost's journey, filled with twists and turns, reminds us of the resilience of the feline spirit and the power of compassion. His age, his striking blue eyes, and the ear-tip all add to his unique story. Ghost has not only found a home but also a place in our hearts that will remain forever etched with the memories of his remarkable transformation from a timid stray to a beloved family member.

In our hearts and home, Ghost has become a living testament to the extraordinary connections that can be formed when kindness and patience intersect with a feline soul in need. His story continues to unfold, reminding us that, sometimes, the most incredible tales are those of second chances and unconditional love. Ghost, our enigmatic white cat, has left an indelible mark on our lives and serves as a daily reminder that every creature, no matter their past, deserves a chance to find love and happiness.

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