This is the story of how beautiful, three year old, one-eyed Frankie came to spend the balance of his life with us on the Sunshine Coast – lucky boy!
First, I must back-track to a day in late February, when we’d travelled to Sydney the day before for a family court matter, and then had to wait for most of the day for a late afternoon return flight to the Sunshine Coast.
On our return home at about 7 o’clock that evening my beautiful big Tiger was keen to greet me, as were the other three cats, but he was my favourite. I had got Tiger as a kitten (my last!) and he was a beautiful 8 kg six year old. You’ll see that from the photo of him.
I made my usual fuss of him, as I loved him dearly, but, unfortunately, and totally unexpectedly, two hours later he had a massive heart attack and passed away, fortunately very quickly. We rushed him down the hill (we live on the top of Buderim) to the emergency vet hospital, but he was gone. I had suspected he might have the defective HCM gene, and the vet confirmed that this had probably been the case. More about that at another time!
Ken and I were totally devastated, of course. It was a heartbreaking end to a day that had not gone as well as it could have.
However, Ken is very patient where our cats and I are concerned, and was happy to help me look for another cat, as he knew how much I missed Tiger. His passing had left a huge hole – for me, anyway. As a result Ken found Frankie advertised on Gumtree, looking to be rehomed by his Mum, Amanda. Amanda already had an old female cat, Saba, who had not taken to Frankie. I have to say, we’ve also found this with our female cats when introducing male kittens or cats.
Amanda had adopted Frankie from the RSPCA the previous July after he had been handed in with a badly damaged eye, which was later removed by the RSPCA vet. He was also desexed and microchipped at that time. Probably a lot of people would have been reticent about taking a cat recovering from such a traumatic injury, but Amanda took him home and did a wonderful job with him, giving him the love and care he really needed at that time.
However, Amanda’s work as a night superintendent at one of the large clubs in Sydney meant that she really did not have the time to spend with Frankie, who is very affectionate, and loves company and being petted. So ultimately she reluctantly made the decision to rehome Frankie – a very difficult decision as we know she loved him dearly – as do we. We believe her Mum also helped and supported her in this difficult decision.
As a result Ken flew to Sydney from the Sunshine Coast, picked up a hire car at the airport, and drove to Amanda’s home to collect a very unwilling, and very vocal, Frankie. Apparently they had great difficulty putting him in his carrier, and by the time Ken left for the 40 minute drive back to the airport both Amanda and Frankie were crying – Frankie very loudly. Ken rang me from the airport, very upset, and said he felt like a baby snatcher. I did my best to comfort both of them!
Unfortunately, as only some flights carry animals, they had to fly back into Brisbane on a late afternoon flight, which was fine for picking up Ken, but we had great difficulty finding the cargo animal collection place for Virgin Airlines. I was in a panic, of course, as it was a late Saturday afternoon/early evening and I had horrible visions of Frankie being locked up for the weekend; incorrectly, of course.
We finally got to the right place and Frankie was brought out in his carrier, looking quite composed, actually – far more so than I was! I spoke a few words to him and put my fingers through the cage door, and he seemed to be okay, thank goodness.
We were expecting a very noisy trip back to Buderim (about an hour’s drive), but there was not one peep out of young Frankie, until he gave a bit of a squeak just as we turned the last couple of corners to home. He seemed to sense that we were almost at our destination.
Frankie spent his first few days in the master bedroom, which has large bi-fold doors onto a very large deck, with a wonderful view across to the Blackall Range. I had done this with our previous youngster, Riley (now also known as Skippy because of his long legs!). There is a cat opening from the deck into this bedroom, but we closed it off to keep our other cats out of there until they got used to each other. However, they could still see each other (our two naughty young ginger males) through the glass, and do what cats do – hiss ferociously (just a big act really) at each other.
Frankie actually spent a lot of his first few days in the walk-in robe, behind the shoes, peering up at us with his one bright eye. The fact that he’d lost an eye upset me at first, but I’ve got used to it, and he certainly copes very well. However, I’ve become a “helicopter parent” and get a bit panicky when they roll around the floor playing and having the odd squabble, as young cats do.
But Frankie has settled in very well and is a source of much entertainment and joy for us. My elder sister Enid, who is now a little forgetful, particularly loves him, and she has a framed photograph of Frankie on her bedside table – which amuses me as I’ve never known her to be so besotted by a cat before!
Frankie doesn’t jump on the large cat trees, of which we have four, on the deck or walk around the large deck railing, but I guess this has something to do with his ability, or inability maybe, to gauge the distance to jump up. I’m not sure about that, but I do know he loves all the chairs (there are ten) on the deck, and we have to work around whatever his current choice is.
Frankie loves his food, to the point where I’m a bit concerned that he’s becoming a little overweight, but I’m hopeful that once he gets used to the variety of food available that will settle down.
He’s also a great talker, and has just come into the office and is saying something to me. He always makes his presence known, especially at 4.30/5.00 a.m.! Fortunately we’re early risers, so this doesn’t bother us. It has probably come about because of Amanda’s working hours, I would think.
So this has been a bit of a journey for us, and Frankie, but the end result has certainly been worth the effort and the cost of bringing him to live with us. I still grieve for Tiger, sometimes quite a lot, but I like to think that Frankie was meant to come to us, and we love him very much.
We also thank Amanda, to whom I still send photos and keep in touch, and her Mum for letting us have Frankie. He’s a wonderful, kind fellow and we’ll, hopefully, have lots of years of his wonderful, loving company.