Amazing what love and the promise of never giving up on someone can do to turn a life around. Meet Frank, my five-year-old tough-tabby-turned-soft-hearted-sweetiepie.
Frank showed up in early spring 2014, acting tough, showing off his man pride with tail held high. I’ve never met a stray like Frank, which is why of all the 70+ strays I’ve rescued throughout my adult lifetime, I’ve picked Frank to feature on Remember Me Thursday.
When Frank first arrived in my yard he was determined to destroy Joshua, a sickly ginger stray who later passed from feline leukemia. Frank was Angry! And he was determined to kick someone’s tail, mine included. Three years later I still have a vivid memory of battling Frank back with a broom to keep him from ripping into Joshua. I kept sweeping Frank back while poor Josh cowered behind me. Finally Frank turned on me, but again I swept him back until finally…with a huge sigh…he slumped to the ground. I asked if he wanted lunch–he did–and trotted dog-like beside me up to the house.
Frank’s history is a mystery, but clearly he’s never had a home. I’m certain he’s come close a few times, as he took to Rescued Life with such relief that IT had finally happened. But it was touch and go for a time, never knowing when he would go from gentle to feral. My Garage Band, Nikolas and Jesse, never really liked each other, but they bonded in mutual dislike of Frank. For the first year I hovered over him to make sure he wouldn’t fight and injure my other cats. Frank was big and strong…and could do some serious damage.
A couple months after he arrived, he started pushing past me into the house. I was surprised that my indoor cats accepted him without drama — especially Herman and Opie, who head the Wondepurr Drama Club. Then I found out my petsitter, Michelle, was responsible. My neighbor Shelly saw her sitting on the front walk petting Frank…who I later found out chomped down pretty hard on Michelle’s arm. Then he talked her into letting him inside the house! She didn’t realize that he was supposed to be 100% outside. Frank was a charmer, alright.
Still is! My indoor cats all like him, which tells me Frank totally understood his outside behavior as a rough and tumble fighter would not be acceptable indoor behavior.
Herman never objected to him joining our family. The girls – Peaches, Gidget, Chauncie Marie, Candy and Elly – all adore him. But it’s Dori who Frank has the best relationship with. She loves to wrassle and although she’s half his size, he’s gentle with her, even while throwing her to the ground.
We lost our Buddy in 2013 to a stroke. He was 22 and had been diabetic for 10 years. Looking so much like Buddy, it was easy for Ray and I to love Frank — even when he chomped on our arms.
Eventually the chomping stopped. Frank realized he no longer had to fight for a place to live. He even joined Herman, Ray and I on our nightly walks, trotting easily beside us. Whenever a car went by Frank would move to the grass and lie down. Another clue as to his life before us… although we have caught him lying on his back in the middle of the street, sunning himself. Idiot!
I had envisioned traveling with Frank, who is very much a cat-dog. But he has severe motion sickness. Going to the vet requires the use of the old van with a tarp on the floor, a litter box (that is never used), two paper toweling rolls, a couple plastic bags and lots of air freshener. Even riding in Herman’s stroller makes Frank throw up.
As the years have passed, Frank prefers to spend more time indoors than outside. And more often than not, he crawls into bed to lie between us…all sixteen pounds of him. I’ve never seen a cat who sleeps so deeply. Once asleep, he’s out until morning. Ray thinks he couldn’t have slept like that when he was homeless. But now…
When Frank arrived in my yard, I wasn’t in the market for another cat. I had already cared for ten. But I believe God sends me those who aren’t wanted by others. I currently care for thirteen!
Chevy can thank Frank for the patience I now have dealing with hard-bitten strays. Chevy is still learning proper behavior and something tells me we are in for a long haul. But Frank taught me the promise of never giving up will eventually be rewarded.
I don’t have snuggly kitties who curl up in my lap. Except for Peaches and sometimes Herman and Dori, none of my cats like to lap cuddle. Most of them spent their formative years without a home, so that means they flee when the door bell rings, getting them into a carrier for a trip to the vet requires lots of planning, and picking most of them up is impossible.
But I wouldn’t have it any other way. They are a blessing to me. I’ve paid for one cat in my lifetime, a super tiny kitten I rescued from a pet shop in the early 80’s because she was drowning in a small cage filled with about 50 other kittens. All my other cats, including Herman, were strays.
The current membership of the Wonderpurr Gang is Herman, Opie, Peaches, Jack, Jesse, Nikolas, Chauncie Marie, Gidget, Dori, Candy, Frank, Chevy and Elly – all living Happily Ever After because I needed them as much as they needed me.
Remember Me Thursday® is a global awareness campaign uniting individuals and pet adoption organizations around the world as an unstoppable, integrated voice for orphan pets to live in forever homes, not die waiting for them.
On September 28, 2017, the entire world will share the importance of pet adoption and shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues. In 2016, people using #RememberTheRescue and #RememberMeThursday reached nearly 340 million people on social media.
Can we get even more people sharing the importance of pet adoption in 2017? It’s up to you to spread the word.