Even after Frankie’s teeth were extracted, the bear, her favourite toy was left lying on the living room carpet in the same place for quite a while. She could no longer toss it around with abandonment as she had done in the past. 

One day, I put it away in the carton with some other cat toys Frankie and Johnnie no longer played with. About two years later, I was to learn how much this bear meant in our relationship. Please keep this paragraph in mind. A later chapter will reveal the bear’s real meaning to Frankie and her thought of mind in relating the kinship of her beloved bear to Mr. Mom.

This chapter includes some of my earlier stories that were written, put away, and now made part of Frankie Weiss and Her Magic. The story below is true and truly amazing in its conclusion featuring a neighbour’s cat.

The Clever Orange Tabby

          This almost unbelievable incident took place around 1964. It remained with me all these years due to the impact it made upon my mind. I never knew how clever a cat could be. However, this orange Tabby taught me a valuable lesson.

          The lesson: How a cat solves a killing problem.

          My neighbour across the way, had a beautiful, big orange Tabby, I presume it was a male, more than likely, neutered. His name was unknown to me.

          Often coming home from work and after having my dinner, I would sit out on the back patio and relax. The cat having outdoor privileges would stroll across all the lawns facing each other. In those years it was still quite a wild area; it was not uncommon to see deer and other large occupants grazing. Seeing the Tabby chase rabbits, squirrels, ground hogs and other small creatures was almost a daily occurrence. Those he caught and dispatched were not eaten. They were intruders on his territory and that was not good. The ones he killed were laid on his keeper’s doorstep as gifts to them.

          When these homes were built in 1960-61, the builders had to put up a retaining wall three houses to the right of ours. The house above the retaining wall was built on a hill and the earth could wash down when it rained.   This retaining wall had drainpipes set four to six inches below the wall top. Birds took up residence in the drainpipes, flying in and out and gathering food for their nestlings.

          The orange Tabby had his eyes on the birds; they had no business raising a family in his domain. However, they were too far out of his reach to capture.

          One early evening, enjoying the scenery from my patio, I noticed the Tabby had figured out a way to get to the top of the retaining wall.

          He was sitting on top of the wall, directly above a drainpipe, his right paw dangling just above the opening; he was waiting for a bird to emerge on its food-gathering mission. Finally, one of the birds came out and stood on the edge of the drainpipe ready to take off, and my eyes beheld this amazing scene; the Tabby with a mighty swish of its right front leg knocked the bird off its perch.

          The orange Tabby quickly jumped, down the nine or ten feet to the lawn, where the bird lay, either unconscious or dead, put its mouth around it, with head and tail proudly held up, walked across our lawn to give its keeper a gift of the bird it just killed.

          The benevolence and cruelty of Nature were at work.

The following story may contain some aspects of chapters written before this; nevertheless, it brings out the fact that fate rules human life. We can try to live in a world that’s to our choosing or live in one that is thrust upon us and we never know where the vagaries of fate take us on our journey through that life.

My New World

          Sitting here before the computer I wonder where my life would have gone if Frankie and Johnnie, my feline companions these past four years, were not born and if that chance meeting with the Director of The Marlton Animal Hospital had not happened.

          It’s been forty-some years since I first met Evelyn through a mutual friend. The strange thing is that we lived around the corner from one another; a city block away and never laid eyes upon each other, at least, not knowingly. The introduction turned into a long marriage, happily devoted to sharing our lives in peaceful harmony and mutual respect.

          Her death, May 8, 1997, two weeks short of thirty-nine years of marriage, and six lonely months later led to the adoption of my feline companions, Frankie and Johnnie.                   

In retrospect, I’m exceedingly grateful that the parents of both Frankie and Johnnie were neither neutered nor spayed. Otherwise, fate would have led me on a different path. Certainly, to a path that would not have included these two loving and beautiful felines and my many writings about them and myself as a family merged, and dependent upon one another in shared contentment.

          I became, willingly, a part of their world. I realized in the past years of living with them that I have changed in many ways. I no longer have those lonely nights; my health has taken a turn for the better, my blood pressure reacts to their invigorating presence, it normalizes. I look forward to coming home and being greeted by my two cats, they look upon me as their mother. I know, once again, I am needed and loved. I begin to discern each cat’s vocal sounds, moods and temper as well as their chosen place in my life. My old world has undergone many changes. I am now living in a new world that tends to keep my felines’ needs and health, in mind. They are the children my marriage never had. I regard them as such.

          I am dedicated to a love between human and feline I would have thought impossible before the adoption. They creep into my bones, in their insidious way; they have taken over my heart. If one of my cats hurts, I hurt for them. They will want my lap, my touch, my bed; they want to and do sleep with me. Snuggling up so close that many mornings I wake up feeling sore, I was not able to move around in my sleep as I normally would without the cats in my bed.

          As a widower, I am aware I have been exploited; I was the perfect candidate, I was targeted for exploitation. Living alone, the cats have taken over my home, it’s now their castle and playground. I may see the cats climbing all over my furniture, they’ll explore every nook and cranny of the house and nothing will be off limits to them. In their minds, if I love them, I’ll love all that they do. Cats do not know about false love, their love is unshakable and unmistakable in its devotion to you.

          I start writing stories, true little pieces about their whims, the pleasure they give me, their antics, I send these stories to friends, to Animal Shelters, to other web sites. Shelters have asked me for permission to publish their pictures in future advertising. I am flattered, my ego becomes inflated, I realize my cat Frankie is a beautiful marked Calico, in fact she’s a toothless tri-colour; her colours cause me to think she’s a world beauty among Calicos. She may even special because of her toothless existence. Who ever heard of a toothless cat, let alone a beautiful toothless Calico? I miss them when I have gone away for a short vacation, even though I made preparations for a housekeeper to tend to their every need. I miss the look they give me with their big, black eyes, rimmed yellow green. I cannot get back soon enough to be greeted by and to touch them. I am  completely under their control. All being said and done, they are my children, now so important in my new world.

My new world will have its hurts and misgivings. Not all is well over the years, rough spots appear in the fathering of the love for my four legged companions and their health. I made a terrible mistake giving Frankie some table food. A spiced chicken I took home from a restaurant, one night while eating out. How could I be so stupid? Cats are never to be fed spicy chicken. In nature the foods they eat have no spices or other ingredients that would cause inflammation in their oesophagus tract. I have fed Frankie chicken I made in the past, but with no spices. This time, I lost all sense of feeding her foods not good for her digestive system. She begins throwing up and cannot hold down any food she tries to eat. I even see her take a few laps of water and all the years together she has never taken one drop. I begin to worry and call the Vet’s  office to have Frankie examined.

          As luck would have it, Dr. Rothberg, Frankie’s Vet was away on vacation, I had no choice but to use another Vet connected to the Hospital.

The Examination

          Not wishing to cause any hard feelings, I purposely omit the Doctor’s name from this writing. We arrived at the Hospital and were taken into the examination room. I positively told the doctor that I had fed some spicy chicken and sliced turkey to Frankie and it did not agree with her system and she could not keep any other food down, after partaking she’d disgorge it shortly after.

          After examining Frankie, the doctor suggested taking some X-rays to see if an obstruction was present that would not permit her keeping food down in a normal manner. For this purpose, I had to leave her overnight, fine. As the X-rays were negative this doctor suggested again taking other X-rays. I had no choice; I wanted my Frankie healthy and happy. The estimate was $237 to the high end of $307. Again I had to leave her overnight. This was on a Wednesday. The next day I called, the X-rays were still negative, so now the doctor suggested exploratory surgery. I refused and told her do nothing. (They may have tried to give her some shots in the meantime. The final bill reflected no oral medicine.)

          My mind was racing in a whirlwind; looking for possible answers or help I went to the Internet. I found a 38-page treatise on Cat Vomiting. Printing it out, I read it twice. I called Marlton, telling them I wanted to take Frankie home for the weekend; they tried to dissuade me. No! If Frankie was going to suffer that entire weekend, I wanted her in my arms where she at least would get all the love due her. Friday morning arriving at Marlton, the bill had risen to $401 and change. Frankie’s entire facial expression changed when I entered the cage room to take her home. Her tail was wagging furiously, a sign of happiness and I’m sure, to see the face she loved. I do not know to this day if she ate anything before my arrival. I do know a few hours later Frankie went to her food bowl, ate, and she has been fine ever since.

          The point I wish to make is this: please be sure the doctor examining your pet has heard the words you expressed in what foods you gave which caused the upset. It’s entirely possible they may just go on their past experiences in such matters, (if they had any) and your food explanation fell upon dead ears and counted for naught.

          And, sometimes a second opinion though it could be costly could not hurt. We learn from human values that a second opinion could be extremely important and save you much money, worry, and possibly a life. The pet you regard as a beloved family member deserves no less.




A Cats Purr

"Cats make one of the most satisfying sounds in the world: they purr ...

A purring cat is a form of high praise, like a gold star on a test paper. It is reinforcement of something we would all like to believe about ourselves - that we are nice."

Roger A Caras

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