The first time I met Frankencat he was indulging in a typical feline activity—enjoying a sunbeam on the floor of his room. But he was anything but typical even at that point in his career, and that was why I was there to meet him. He shared this room with a 15-year-old deaf and blind pit bull who’d been rescued and staying where he was for whatever time he had left, and Frankencat had developed a serious communication method for guiding Old Grand Dad around and easing him through his occasional seizures.
But that wasn’t the only remarkable thing about Frankencat, and there could hardly be another cat to arrive with more lessons for those whose life his touched. Those lessons were packaged in reasons why, in today’s animal welfare system, he shouldn’t even have been alive to give his unique compassionate assistance to OGD. He shouldn’t have survived on the streets with his wounds and his infection with FeLV. His necrotic face wound, a dead eye, badly healed broken jaw, wild attitude and FeLV+ status would have been a death sentence at many shelters and even rescues around the country. With an immunity compromised by FeLV his wounds should not have healed and he should not have recovered enough to go to a foster home.
But he did, because he had a mission in his short life. I would bet he knew he had a finite amount of time to fulfill that mission. He didn’t waste any time getting started, and he worked his mission into his last hours. He was trapped and rescued in November 2013 at about age 2, and he left us early on November 12, 2015 from complications of FeLV.
The lesson he brought is that every animal is worth rescuing, every animal is worth a chance. The world would be much less without a Frankencat in its history. No doubt his story of a real recovery and life with FeLV and loving the human race that had abandoned him has helped to save lives of other cats rescued like him. But the magic of his compassion in healing and his incredibly social nature were unique to him. Hidden in every bruised and battered rescued cat and dog and all other animals is the potential for life and love and healing, and every once in a while a unique spirit like Frankencat.
He cared for Old Grand Dad until he passed at the end of May 2014. Even after he had passed, Frankencat sat with OGD, rode with him in the car and and spent meditative time atop his grave with NeNe, another of Heather’s rescued pit bulls.
Apparently Frankencat’s pit bull healing days were not over as he moved on to purr his magic onto Pappy, another geriatric pit bull Heather had rescued, and then to slowly befriend all the dogs in the house. And then…Doc the mini pig, and he was okay with that too.
Heather Long’s nurturing personality set the stage for all these wonderful stories to happen. She agreed to foster him because he needed a cat free home to recover. Watching the bond grow she knew he couldn’t leave, then seeing Franken with Pappy and befriending the rest of the household she knew he was in his forever home already. Heather and Franken’s bully friends were there with him at the end.
Franken’s remarkable story has traveled quite a bit on the internet. When I posted it in May 2014 it was shared over 5,000 times on Facebook and garnered about 20,000 likes, and is still shared and is one of the most frequently read stories on this site. The magic continues.
He was struggling with anemia and a few other conditions related to his FeLV, and wasn’t responding as well as hoped to the transfusions. It would be a miracle for him to recover, but if any cat could have done it that cat would have been Frankencat. The day before he died he was riding in the car with his pit buddy NeNe and talking up a storm. He was making the most of every last precious moment. It’s still hard to believe he’s gone.
About the story
I first published the story of Old Grand Dad in March 2013 and the update in May 2014 when Old Grand Dad passed.
The original story: Friendship and Assistance, Frankencat and Old Grand Dad Rescued Each Other
The follow-up: Devoted to the End: Frankencat and Old Grand Dad
And you can also see more photos and read more articles about Frankencat as he went on to charm the vicious pit bulls and just be an outstanding feline.
Here are the awards and honors the stories have won:
- A Certificate of Excellence and the Adoptashelter.com “Adopt a Homeless Dog” award in the Dog Writer’s Association of America’s 2014 writing contest.
- Frankencat and Old Grand Dad were featured on Cheezburger’s Animal Rescue blog and Frankencat was named “2014 Black Friday Kitteh of the Year” by Cheezburger’s Black Friday group.
- The photo of Frankencat and Old Grand Dad won a Certificate of Excellence in the Cat Writers’ Association 2014 Communications Contest.
- The follow-up story, “Devoted to the End”, won the 2014 Petties Award for Best Blog Post.
The $1,000 from the Petties award helped sponsor the recent free for ferals TNR clinic in March 2015 so that we might have fewer cats on the streets this year needing rescue.
I’m so glad I got to meet Frankencat and Old Grand Dad. It was a thrill to hold Frankencat that day for just a little bit.
Help reduce the numbers of cats like Frankencat living on the streets. Make a donation to the Homeless Cat Management Team, the organization that rescued Frankencat.
Read more Essays on The Creative Cat.
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Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!