It’s about 5:30 AM and I’m sound asleep. Frankie is not; she’s on my bed meowing in my ear. Usually, she’d be poking me in the rib cage, but I had the covers over my body. Doing second best to her way of thinking, waking me by meowing in my ear will suffice. 

One day in the lives of Frankie, Johnnie and their Mr. Mom

It’s time to eat and Frankie wants her morning meal. I have no right sleeping while hunger gnaws at her stomach. She cannot eat the left over food on her plate with a toothless mouth. The food is crusted, and besides, her lips are too tender to pick up hardened leftovers.

 What’s a Mr. Mom to do? His feline child is hungry; no normal thinking parent would ever allow a child to go hungry. Mr. Mom is no exception. Getting out of bed to feed Frankie is not a chore, it’s an act of love and devotion to an animal that made the world he lives in so much better during the past seven years.

 Going into the kitchen and choosing a can of Chicken Hearts and Liver with gravy from a number of cans I have stacked on the counter top, I first clean her dish of the left over food and proceed to lift the cover off the closed can. All the while Frankie’s sits on her haunches watching and waiting for me to put the dish on the paper towelling so she can satisfy her hunger by partaking of her morning repast.

 I think she understands that before serving her, I must take the canned meal and spread it around on the dish enabling her to pick it up with her lips. Turning around, I’m ready to put the dish on the paper towelling, and Frankie gets up from her Sphinx-like sitting position and walks over to that area. Putting down the dish, she always rewards me with a special meow, signifying her pleasure at being fed. Frankie eats. After that, licking her lips clean is a must, as is her grooming procedure, satisfied with both; she lies down on the carpeted living room floor going into the feline sleep pattern. Both sets of legs fully extended, the side of her head resting on the floor, what’s better than a well-deserved snooze after an enjoyable meal?

 This particular day, Mr. Mom goes back to bed, turning on the TV. Not watching it, the left side of his head is resting on a fluffed up cushion as he tries to fall asleep. In the past, he succeeded, while at other times sleep will not come. After a long period of tossing and turning Mr. Mom gets out of bed. Once again, this beautifully marked and loving Tortoiseshell Calico cat named Frankie has interrupted his sleep.

 Mr. Mom gets up and goes into the bathroom. The door is left open; Frankie and her companion cat, Johnnie the Tabby enter, they must help him get ready for his day.

 Before doing anything, a certain ritual must be followed; Frankie jumps to the pale pink fluffy covered toilet seat and Johnnie leaps onto the left side of the bathroom basin cabinet. As soon as Mr. Mom takes a tissue out of the box, Johnnie jumps off the top of the basin cabinet and runs out of the bathroom. Meanwhile, I turn on the warm water, dampening the tissue to cleanse Frankie’s eyes below the lower lid where crust has a habit of forming. Frankie willingly presents her face to me in doing this procedure. It seems Johnnie does not want this done to her. I fooled her into it once. Now, she’s learned when I reach for a tissue she jumps off the top of the cabinet and runs from the bathroom.

 After cleansing below Frankie’s eyes, a brushing of her beautiful fur takes place. As long as I brush Frankie, she is a willing client. The same goes for my massaging her front shoulders and rear hips after the brushing. For the past month or so since I started massaging, I found that a feline being massaged by loving hands will sit for all you give them and more, until you quit.

 Frankie then departs the toilet seat and Johnnie jumps to it, knowing it’s her turn to go through such a pleasurable feline experience. Johnnie had come back to the bathroom, when she sensed I was brushing Frankie and sat on the matching pale pink rug on the floor in front of the basin cabinet waiting her turn to be brushed and massaged.

 I cannot opine what goes on in my cat’s mind; however, being brushed and being massaged by the human they love is totally enjoyable and unexplainable. Their loud and constant purring at this time only gives me thought to the pleasure they must derive from these doings by their Mr. Mom.

 After taking care of Frankie and Johnnie’s usual morning chores it was now Mr. Mom’s turn to get ready for the day and its happenings.

 Frankie and Johnnie, meanwhile, had left the confines of the bathroom and I concerned myself in getting ready for the day ahead. Going back into the bedroom to get a change of underwear, Frankie, who was sitting near the hallway entrance to the bathroom, followed me. I opened the wrong drawer, faster than a speeding bullet Frankie jumped into the open drawer and started to paw around the far right side. This was a habit she never gave up. From the first day, her entrance to her new home involved exploring any open drawer, package or paper bag. Seven years later it was still her sacred duty to carry on that feline curiosity.

In the open drawer was a white, beautiful, extremely heavy bedspread that featured little round balls and fringes when laid out on top of the bed. It had reposed in the open drawer for a number of years, as did the brown, greyish and white dress shirt that fit quite nicely ten less pounds ago. It was my desire to lose those ten pounds. Again, I’d be able to wear that beautiful knit shirt. The shirt still remains in the drawer, as do the accumulated ten pounds, plus a little more. It was the shirt that Frankie’s paws were examining. Tiring of that, she decided to move to the left side of the drawer and sit down, her tail hanging out over the drawer. All the while, Mr. Mom was sitting on the edge of the bed marvelling and watching at her playful cat antics.

 Frankie, now more than fifty years old in human reckoning, never forgetting her kittenish behaviour, was doing what millions of years of traceable ancestry and instilled heritage compelled her to do. This home was her castle and her playground and everything in it therefore was hers to endlessly explore.

  In the past, I had taken pictures of Frankie examining other drawer contents, but I was never fully satisfied with the finished product. I learned to keep my camera charged never knowing when the opportunity to record a worthwhile picture would present itself, so quickly getting my camera, I snapped the picture leading into this “One day in the lives of…” The picture depicted even more than I had hoped for. Her coloured Tortoiseshell fur along with the white part of her face and chest displayed the magnificence of her beauty; while her stunning feline expression conveyed a look that featured her big, black eyes, rimmed yellow-green, at peace with herself and the world. This picture would remind me of one of my dearest memories of the young cat I adopted seven short years ago when Frankie would rummage among the open drawers she had jumped into.

 After viewing the picture just taken and satisfied with the results, I went into the bathroom to shower. I would like to think both cats knew what I was going to do. After all, the following scene was played out many hundreds of times during the years of our togetherness. Frankie would sit on the cover of the toilet seat, while Johnnie jumped to her perch on the bathroom basin. Both cats would sit perfectly still, awaiting my emergence from the shower. Finally, after my wiping and drying the shower stall, Frankie jumped off her seated position and would enter the stall, she had to see what her Mr. Mom was doing inside the closed doors, her curiosity boundless. Sated, she quickly vacated the shower stall and both cats left the bathroom to their own pursuits.

  I finished my toiletry and quickly dressed. While enjoying the company of these beloved cats, I also had a need to see a human face. Every morning I would go out for breakfast to my favourite restaurant. This day, a large bowl of oatmeal and two cups of coffee are my choice. Before returning home some shopping had to be done as well as buying cat litter for my two dependents and lovers, Frankie and Johnnie.

 Arriving back home, on the driveway, I opened the garage door using the button on my car for that purpose. Frankie, upon hearing the garage door open would always rush downstairs to the ground floor to greet me by lying down on the carpeted floor at the wash basin and wait for me to come inside the house and acknowledge her greeting me by rubbing her belly and shapely head. As far as I was concerned, this was a must. How could I, her loving Mr. Mom, skip this ritual, which had become part of our combined lives, living all these years together?

 Satisfying Frankie’s need for attention, I took all the things I purchased that morning out of the trunk of the car and brought them inside. After attending to the two litter boxes in the rec room, I took the entire foodstuff upstairs to the kitchen. Naturally, Frankie the busybody, had to help me. Any open bag, carton or package was hers to explore. Meanwhile, Johnnie being the lady she is, sat on the picture windowsill observing the world outside of her domain. After putting everything in its proper place, I went into the living room and sat down on the “Love Seat.” Frankie walked around it twice and then leaped onto it to sit near me and commanded my interest to pet her.

A moment or two later, Johnnie’s attention suddenly peaked; birds were flying past the picture window and settling on my lawn. All at once a flock of perhaps eighty to a hundred birds flew past the window and Frankie noticing their flight left me and jumped to the windowsill. I got up and looked out on my lawn, the birds were busy pecking at the grass or seeds or whatever drew them to that spot.

 The inborn instincts of both cats were at work. Had they been able to get at the birds, I’m sure Johnnie with her sharp teeth could have caused havoc. I doubt that Frankie could have done too much harm; she forgot she was toothless as well as clawless, but she never forgot the hunting instinct she was born with. Cats take an interest in any animal that encroaches upon their territory. Even though house cats, hardly ever let outside, the green lawn was part of their territory and theirs to protect.

 All at once, in unison, as if some unspoken word to leave was uttered, the birds flew away. Frankie and Johnnie went back to their business of once more being contented house cats and doing what cats like to do, catnap on the living room rug.

  I left the room and went to my bedroom computer to finish the newsletter I had started the day before for my sister’s charity. It was part of my giving back and helping others less fortunate than us. After about two hours of working on the newsletter, I realized Frankie had not been fed since early that morning. I went into the kitchen and opened a can of chicken with tuna. While chicken was her favourite canned food, she did not shy away from the variety I kept on hand.

  I have often wondered which was stronger – her sense of smell or her hearing.  However, upon hearing me plop open the lid of the can, Frankie suddenly appeared; ready to do justice to the meal I spread out on her dish. Putting it down on the paper towelling, I was rewarded with a “thank you” meow. In return, I ran my hand over the beautiful coloured fur she was blessed with; Frankie was already using her lips to pick up the food I had placed on her dish.

 A little while later, I went back into the bedroom to the computer when Johnnie made her appearance and jumped onto the bed and went to sleep on the cushion of my departed wife’s side of the bed. Johnnie was catnapping most of the morning, except for the episode with the birds, now more sleep was on her agenda. Somewhere, I remember reading the big cats (lions, cheetahs, jaguars, tigers, etc,) sleep about eighteen hours a day. Why should I be surprised that a domestic cat would follow that trait? We lovers of the feline animal all know a cat…is a cat…is a cat!

  It was late afternoon I was completing the newsletter, I felt a tapping on my right arm as I was hitting the keys on the keyboard, and it was Frankie. Standing on her back legs, she had raised herself to get my attention with her front left paw. On my swivel computer chair I turned around, there was the feline love of my life preparing to jump to my lap as she had done so many times in the past.

 Frankie had to prep herself to make the leap to my lap, an injury to her right hind quarter a few years earlier affected her jumping ability although it did not affect her normal walking gait. Frankie made the leap to my lap without undue trouble.

 Usually she’d turn around and seat herself with her front paws and chin resting on my arm. However this time Frankie put her front paws on my chest and started kneading as her big, black eyes, rimmed yellow-green, looked into mine.

 Even after the many hundreds of times that Frankie sat on my lap, this time it was amazingly different. She was talking to me with her eyes, with the tilt of her face, with the way she was kneading and sitting. We all know a cat cannot talk, even though they may be able to create almost a hundred of varied vocal cat sounds.

 My eyes were drawn to hers, as the look on her beautiful feline face was talking from deep within her cat’s heart. She did not have to vocalize with the human sound; her eyes and expression spoke volumes. We rarely live with another human or animal for a number of years without picking up any signs of affection or signals of dislike.

 This animal, a magnificent example of a Tortoiseshell Calico and in my loving eyes, a world beauty, was relating to me in the fashion she knew best.

 Sitting on my lap, in the comfort of a safe world, to Frankie, it meant years of unrestricted and unabashed human love, and never going hungry. Knowing the touch of her keeper whenever she felt the need of his hand running over her soft, ermine like fur, Frankie was in an element she could relate to. She had me, who hurt when she hurt just as a mother would care for and love a child she had birthed.

 Frankie and her female companion Johnnie, while adopted felines, to me were “children” in the sense although not human; they were family members to whom I had given my surname. If you read any of my stories or this book “Frankie Weiss and Her Magic” you will know Frankie and Johnnie are treated as the children my departed wife, Evelyn, and I never had.

 Their likenesses, stories, and book, have travelled far and wide to other continents, to other cat lovers who are no different than this Mr. Mom in the love of their felines. Perhaps, the only difference being I took pictures, wrote stories, and wrote a book about the adoption, as well as the trials and tribulations and the happiness of a merged human and feline family.

 In closing, I can honestly say, “In our togetherness as human and animal, we benefited from a love and a need that played a tremendous part in our well-being and comfort during all these years of our sharing of the Weiss home.” 


 




 


A Morning Kiss

A morning kiss, a discreet touch of his nose landing somewhere on the middle of my face.
Because his long white whiskers tickled, I began every day laughing.

Janet F Faure

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