My husband and I have been married for 35 years as of this writing and there is one chasm, cats. My husband likes cats as long as they’re not in our house or yard. Me, I don’t think you can really be complete as a human without having a cat to love.
We’ve had a few cats over the years when the kids were young. I think if you live in the Midwest it’s impossible to not pick up a few strays, but as the kids got older and moved out my husband was adamant, no more cats.
On September 4th of 2014 (happy birthday to me) I was diagnosed with a recurrence of the cancer that first showed up in 2011. It was not good news, three obvious tumors in my lungs and we were assuming the worst for treatment. Lots of sickness and surgeries and life changes. In my innate talent for finding the chink in anyone’s armor, at the moment when we were most down I said the now infamous words, “If I have to go through chemo again, I’m getting a cat”. I mean, what’s my husband going to say? No?
So a week later as we prepared by reading everything about the trio of toxic chemicals they were going to start pouring into me I put my foot down and we took the trip to the Toledo Humane Society.
Most animal shelters have a kitten room. The place you go and can be surrounded by a mass of tiny furry bodies all trying to get your attention. It is not a place for the faint of heart. If you walk in with any uncertainty you are most definitely walking out with a kitten.
I carefully watched my husband, looking for any connection and when I saw him lock eyes with this scrawny little pointy faced kitten I swooped in and grabbed that kitten and placed him in my husbands arms.
That was when I made the mistake of looking at the tag and seeing the number and random name assigned so he was forevermore Frank.
Frank quickly became a member of our little household and we discovered he had his own personality. He was not a docile little ball of cuddle, he would just as likely bite you as play with you. My description of him often includes unflattering words and I have many scars to show the moments he expressed his displeasure. This made him the perfect fit for us as we are the same. Nice and soft on the outside but just as likely to tell you to get out as invite you in for coffee.
Frank definitely got me through those first months of chemo. He and I spent long months in bed curled up playing with anything I found handy that gave me enough distance between toy and teeth.
Over the years Frank has learned that he in fact owns the house and all who reside in it. He rules the dogs, and gets everything he wants. In return we have a cat that purrs only when he is safely and happily curled up with his humans.
We have a source of love and warmth on those days when we are forced to stay in bed huddled under blankets. Frank is very talkative so we also have a sounding board for complaints and joys alike. Unfortunately for us his favorite conversations happen very early in the morning while we are still trying to sleep.
Frank spends a lot of time on Social Media and has a small fan group. Particularly popular are the videos of Frank wrestling with the Beagle and the German Shepherd. It’s no contest, Frank always wins.
Last year for Valentine’s Day I made pillows of Frank and sent them off to two of his fans as gifts. Once I posted the image I received orders for more. There is something about him and his aloofness that makes people want to be a part of his life.
Frank is stubborn and everything is on his own terms. Just this week I had to start giving Frank medicine. He does not agree that he needs it and so it has turned into a game of me finding ways to get the medicine into him without him seeing it. This morning I found him licking the bottle trying to get to the medicine. On his own terms or not at all.
As the years go by I count my time here by Frank. Every celebration of life for him or for me is now inexorably tied together. He was dubbed my chemo kitty and he did his job well. There are stories about rescued animals that turned peoples lives around, or woke the family to save them from a fire. Frank hasn’t done any of that yet but he gave me exactly what I needed, when I needed it. Love, companionship and a purring playful fuzzy distraction. I only hope I give him as much as he has given me.
About the Creator
Vegetarian/Mostly Vegan, Holistic Nutritionist,cat loving, Stage IV cancer ninja 💜 (stg 3-2011 stg 4-2014) Chemo for life
I write so I don’t scream.
Not a fan of taking anything too seriously
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