It’s now two weeks later, Frankie’s front lip swelling has gone down. She’s her old self; doing what cats who love their keepers do best.
All about love
She keeps finding my lap a favourite place to bother me and lick my fingers or hand with her raspy tongue, as I’m attempting to put down on paper a history of our combined trials and tribulations, along with the noting of many happy times. This includes her adventures with Johnnie the Tabby, her companion cat and second fiddler. Even with no teeth Frankie still shows Johnnie who’s boss in the Weiss household. For no apparent reason she’ll pounce on poor Johnnie just to let her know, that toothless, it makes no difference; I’m still boss cat! It may be that Johnnie does not understand Frankie lost all her teeth. She’ll try to avoid any possible squabble between the two of them. But Frankie, with her devious mind, will hide on a wall side away from the view of Johnnie, and as she passes will jump her, rarely have I seen Johnnie fight back, she runs away.
Following my dismay with Frankie’s loss of teeth, I decided to learn more about cats, their needs and upkeep, even after three years of togetherness, I had much to learn. Going to the library, I borrowed a few books relating to the feline specie. In doing research, I realized some of my observations were a little askew, while other past happenings and experiences would be added to the compilation of my short stories, tending to make a more rounded observation of our shared lives.
In relating a number of incidents, remote, past, and up to date as possible in the telling of “Frankie and Her Magic”, I have no need to expand any of the activities in order to rearrange the truth to make this tale more feasible. It speaks for itself.
Frankie and Her Beguiling Antics
Frankie and Johnnie have now shared my home over three years, it may seem to the reader I may care more for Frankie, not so, in my adoption of these two cats, I played no favourites. They are both my “children” on equal terms. It’s just that these pages have been filled with more stuff concerning Frankie and her fight with the curse of Gingivitis. Johnnie, being the calm and proper lady cat she is, defers to Frankie and her machinations as cat-like they may be.
Johnnie has never been sick nor caused me any aggravation, excepting the times she elects to make a number two on the large blue sheet underneath the litter boxes. It’s not that the litter boxes are not cleaned; I have a feeling that the removal of her front claws will not permit Johnnie to cover her excrement, either, in going a number one or two. More than a few times I have seen Johnnie licking her paw bottoms, leading me to believe that the missing claws still bother her, although she uses the litter box to make a number one, she has never done so on the blue sheet. For this I’m thankful. While Frankie who went through the same claw removal covers her excrement with an unbelievable gusto, she sends Scoop litter flying in all directions on the sheet underneath the litter boxes. I have read many thoughts deploring cat claw removal. I’m not one of the proponents of that feeling, excepting in the case where a cat may be raised as an outside animal. It is there that a cat needs all the protection possible.
More than three months have passed since all of Frankie’s teeth were removed. Thankfully, it looks very much like the gingivitis is a past memory. She has taught herself how to use her lips in eating, minus her front teeth used for grasping food from her dish. She’s once again, the Frankie that I first beheld in that Marlton Animal cage so long ago (minus her teeth). I still think Johnnie does not understand Frankie is toothless; in her bossy attitude, I’ve seen Frankie try to bite Johnnie with her gums, just as she tries to give me a gummy love bite at times.
The only exception is her beloved bear. She can no longer abuse it with abandonment as in the past. That being the case, I put it away (one ear, again, hanging by a thread).
It was about this time in June 2000, that a friend sent me a pamphlet listing a number of cat books. One name struck a chord, “The Cat Who’ll Live Forever.” It’s author, Peter Gethers, wrote about “Norton” the Scottish Fold, a male cat that was his almost constant companion for the sixteen and a half years of its life. The story was so powerful that I ended up writing to Gethers, telling him the loss of Norton brought tears to my eyes. We had much in common and we corresponded for a while.
Because his story and loss of Norton was such compelling reading I wrote a little story, I think I may have sent him a copy.
Peter Gethers, as many cat lovers will know, did not immediately adopt another cat. The memory of Norton and the life they shared could not permit such an adoption. It hurt too much. Janis, Peter’s lady friend, and who loved Norton almost as much as Peter did, stood by his side all through the years of Norton’s illness and was a great comfort in his grief. Norton spent many a night under Janis’s roof while Peter had to travel in his work.
It was quite a while later, possibly a year or two, I again wrote Peter a letter, Janis was still by his side, and if memory serves me right, he adopted two kittenish Scottish Folds. It made me feel good to know because of the love he had for Norton that he needed a feline in his life and heart. But, Norton will never be replaced. It could never be otherwise.
In writing the little story about Norton, the Scottish Fold and Peter Gethers, his lover and keeper, it once again reinforces my thought that the love between an animal and its keeper is something unexplainable. We know more about the mystery of our solar system and its workings than we could ever decipher the bonding between a feline and human.
For keepers of the feline, in getting and reading this book “The Cat Who’ll Live Forever” you live every moment of its pages. You will enjoy the many interesting observations and you’ll perhaps shed a tear as you read the final chapter of this enthralling book. Finally, it will make you love your cats all the more and be glad they are around and still part of your life and world.
Getting back to my story, loving my two housemates equally, I must admit Frankie has more smarts in one of her pretty paws than Johnnie has in her entire body. Not only that, the personality drips from her every move. Not all cats are so blessed.
Just a while ago at the computer, as I’m writing this chapter, Frankie decided she needed some attention from her Mr. Mom. She jumped from the bed, onto my lap and then jumped from my lap and sat down on the scanner. Her paws were hanging over the scanner and the look in her big expressive eyes, caressing my face with the words, “Stop, give me your love. I need your touch.” What could I do? I stopped typing and took her into my arms. Meanwhile, Johnnie was sound asleep on Evelyn’s cushion on that side of the bed.
A few minutes later, Frankie had her fill of love, jumped to the floor and went into the living room and fully stretched out in a sunny spot. It’s late October, the weather is not warm and I have the heater going. Somewhere in their genetic makeup these felines know the sun is good for them. Having stopped typing, I go into the living room and sit down on the far side of the Love Seat. Frankie gets up, circles the seat a few times and jumps to my lap and walks to “her spot” on the Love Seat. Jumping onto the Love Seat is not good enough for her; she has to use my lap to gain her objective, the left side of the seat. Circling a couple times, she lies down, waiting for me to fondle her. I comply. Satisfied, Frankie gets off and walks to a sunny spot on the carpeted floor, stretches out, fully and goes right to her catnapping. Meanwhile, Johnnie woke up and followed me into the living room, and as cats will do, also took advantage of the warm sun by fully elongating herself.
I look at them, stretched out on the oatmeal coloured carpeted floor, and think to myself, “How lucky could one person be to have such wonderful and beautiful feline animals as loving companions?”
In its wisdom, nature never ceases to amaze, endowing these cats with the ability to love the human being and the human being to be fulfilled. And, the human in knowing and having a need to give their love to these often mysterious four legged feline creatures that bring so much contentment to them in their allotted time on this earth. We are both blessed.
To read the story that Peter Gether's book inspired me to write, please click here: