Frankie became the focal point of my life, that is besides working full-time, taking ballet classes several nights a week and dashing off to Hermosa Beach every other weekend to see my boyfriend. Right around Frankie’s one-year check-up with the vet (I vividly recall toting him there in a giant purple beach bag), the vet asked me if I had another cat. I told him no, one was enough. The vet asked me about my daily routine and it was pretty obvious that I wasn’t home much. I was trying to figure out where he was going with the inquisition when he suggested I get another cat to keep Frankie company. At the time I was not an accomplished cat lady, but a mere 20-something who loved cats—mostly just one, my Frankie. “Na, he’ll be fine. I give him lots of love,” ended the conversation. The vet backed down, but fate did not.
One night while I was cooking dinner, Frankie was frantically pacing in front of the living room window. With paws on the window sill, he peered eagerly into the darkness with an urgent, “Mee-ow, mee-ow, meeeooow!” “Good grief what is it?” I stopped chopping the vegetables I was about to steam and walked over to Frankie, who was face to face with a cute little kitty, and frustrated that the window was in the way.
This visit went on all week. I inquired with the landlord about the small kitty with the round white face and speckled cheeks. “Oh, the tenants in Unit 25 moved out and left her. Do you want her? I’ll have to call animal control if no one takes her.” She had been abandoned. How could anyone do that to such a precious little creature? “I’ll take her the next time she comes around,” I blurted as the vet’s lecture echoed in the back of my mind. The landlord smiled and thanked me, and my heart fluttered with excitement at the thought of having a friend for Frankie!
My joy turned to disappointment when during the several days following that conversation, Frankie’s new friend no loner came to the window. On a Saturday morning about a week after my talk with the landlord, I asked my next-door neighbor if she’d seen the abandon cat. “Oh, yea, we took her in. My son has been wanting a cat.” Through choked-up tears I told my neighbor about the budding romance between the kitty and Frankie and how I intended to rescue her.
I was the one who didn’t want or feel the need for a second cat, yet was heartbroken over what could have been, and realized I had already gotten attached to her. Seconds later, the neighbor was at my front door. “You can have her. I think she’ll be in a better home with you. I can see how badly you want her,” and she put the bundle of fur down by my feet where Frankie stood.
At last, with no window between them, Frankie and the cute little cat touched noses. And there began the romance of Frankie and Punkie. And there began my transition into cat ladyhood.
Feline Facts: Cats are often misunderstood as being solitary, aloof creatures. The African wildcat, the domestic cat’s ancestor was a solitary hunter, and so are most of its descendants. However, scientists have recognized domestic cats as a social species. Well, I can vouch for that without conducting scientific research. But for you fact seekers, it was once thought that lions were the only social species within the feline family. But, recent studies have found that in addition to lions (think lion prides, which have a matriarchal social structure); bobcats, cheetahs and domestic cats are considered social species. Whether a cat is living in a feral colony or in a household of human companions, they establish social hierarchical structures, seek companionship and form bonds with other cats and their human companions.
So having three or more cats really isn’t crazy, it’s sensible. At least according to science.