Daughn Carpenter of Soldotna, pets her kitten, Sid, on Saturday in an attempt to make him feel more secure while having his photo taken by a stranger. Sid, formerly known as Forrest, was found abused a year ago and brought to the Kenai Animal Shelter. Carpenter adopted him shortly thereafter.
Photo by Joseph Robertia
Newspapers, in their ongoing attempt to keep the public informed, often report on unfortunate incidents in the community. However, not all stories that start out bad end that way, as evident by what has become of a kitten that the Peninsula Clarion reported had suffered horrible abuse roughly one year ago.
"I read the story and told my son, we're getting that cat," said Daughn Carpenter of Soldotna.
The tiny tangerine-colored kitty's story began in August of 2006 when it came to the Kenai Animal Shelter after some teens found him in a remote area while four-wheeling. The shelter staff named him Forrest, after the fictional movie character made famous by Tom Hanks, not because the kitten had a crooked back or bad legs, instead it was because it was apparent the 6-week-old feline had faced some challenges.
"It was obvious the kitten had been dumped. He was very thin, just skin and bones," said Patricia Stringer, chief animal control officer at the shelter.
His tail was severely injured, and it was believed the injuries were caused by inhuman treatment.
"It looked like he had been hung by it. About three quarters of his tail was dead, it looked like a stick or a branch, and the rest was rotten with maggots all over," said Kristina Peterson, who was a part-time animal control officer at the time.
Despite Forrest's physical condition, his spirits remained high, which is what prompted the kitten to be named after the Hollywood film character.
"He had a strong will to live so it seemed appropriate," Peterson said.
Forrest's will remained unwavering through veterinary treatments that included amputating his tail. Following his surgery, Forrest went into foster care. Laurie Orth of Soldotna cared for the cat and nursed him back to health. At 12 weeks old and with the sutures removed, a fit Forrest was returned to the Kenai shelter and put up for adoption, which is when his story made it into the newspaper.
"We went down to the shelter the next day after reading his story and waited until they opened and adopted him," Carpenter said.
The kitten acclimated to his new home almost immediately, Carpenter said, but they changed his name to what seemed to them like a better fit. Forrest now goes by, Sid, a fictional character in the animated film "Ice Age" that remains positive even though he has been accidentally abandoned by his family.
"He went through a period where he was standoffish, but now he's affectionate and doing good. He won't leave my son alone. He loves to knead on him, purring loudly," she said.
That's not to say that Sid isn't still wary of strangers, she said, but the cat does have reason to be leery after all. He also still hasn't mentally overcome what happened to his tail, according to Carpenter.
"He still doesn't like his tail stub or back feet touched. If you touch them, he'll tear your hands up," she said.
Sid also gets along good with the other animals that live with Carpenter.
"He plays with my two beagles, TJ and Toby, and my new puppy, a lab-border collie mix named TC. He also likes batting at the side of my leopard gecko's tank when I feed him crickets. It's pretty funny," she said.
As to how she feels about what her Sid endured before coming to live with her, Carpenter said it is hard to think about.
"I can't imagine anyone doing something like that to an animal," she said.
Carpenter takes solace in knowing that while Sid's life started bad, it will end good, and in a loving home. Also, while her story may seem unique, she said she has always had success with animals she has adopted from animal shelters.
"The cat I had before Sid came from the animal shelter and he was a good cat too, so if I decide to get Sid a friend I'll go back to the shelter again," she said.
The Kenai Animal Shelter currently has numerous cats and dogs for adoption. For more information call them at 283-7353.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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