If you thought he was angry before, now he’s a teen

Today Francis is 13. I have never had a cat live to be 13. Naturally, it has to be my cat with attitude who keeps a-going.

I know I have told this story before, but people come and go from this blog.

The year was 1997. If you owned a cell phone, it was the size of a Subway tuna melt. We all wore those stupid high-heeled Ally McBeal loafers that looked like pilgrim shoes. Marvin and I lived in an apartment that faced…a bunch of other apartments. It was picturesque.

"MEEEEEEE!" we heard one evening.

What was that?" I asked, cupping my fake French nail tips around my ear.

"I didn't hear anything," said Marvin, who was already stampeding toward deafness at the age of 30. It was early September, Princess Diana had just died, and Marvin and I had just flown back from Michigan, where we'd had our engagement party.

"MEEEEEEEEEEP!" we heard again. Well. I heard again. "How can you not hear that?" I asked, stepping onto our balcony in my clever overall dress. "MEEEEEEEE!"

I am sorry to tell you that Marvin and I went to eat at Art's Delicatessen, came back, and once again heard the "MEEEEE!" It breaks my heart, in retrospect, that I had to have a chopped liver sandwich while poor Fran was MEEEEEing all that time.

"Do you hear that?" asked the gayest man in the world, who lived in the apartment across from us with a matching balcony. He, too, was sporting a clever overall dress. Okay, he wasn't, but I swear to you he had a daiquiri in his hand. A daiquiri. It was like he went to the Charles Nelson Riley School of Gaydom. He may have had a scarf tied jauntily around his neck, too. Usually I heart me the gay man, but this guy was annoying. He used to call me if I left my balcony light on too long. "You must be very rich. You've had that light on all night."

Oh, shut up. Isn't there a Liza marathon on TNT or something?

"MEEEEEEE!"

Marvin, who finally heard it, said, "It's a bird."

The sound was coming from the carport and the cultural divide between the gay neighbor, Gaybor, and me. "That has to be a kitten, not a bird," said Gaybor. "I'll get Gerald to climb that carport."

Gerald was Gaybor's unbelievably hot young boyfriend. Marvin and I left our apartment and ran over to Gaybor's driveway, mostly so I could watch the hot boyfriend climb the carport. "You're gonna find a bird," Marvin insisted.

Yet there was teensy Francis, decidedly not a bird, two weeks old, no teeth yet, hanging upside-down from some ivy. He was black and white, and there was a black and white feral cat in the neighborhood, and we figured she was the mom. Why would she abandon her kitten like that?

Well. Now we know.

Naturally, I wrapped Francis up IN A WASHCLOTH, that's how small he was, and took him home.

Babyfran
Originally we named him Diana, not knowing if he was a boy or a girl.

Bottleboy
We had to call the vet and ask what to do with such a little sprite, and we had to buy $7-a-can cat milk and feed it to him. At night he slept in a cat carrier with a hot-water bottle, and he'd cry just like a human baby, and we'd take turns feeding him. You were supposed to warm up his bottle slightly, and once Fran was grown up, Marvin admitted that one time he was tired and fed Francis the bottle cold, and that poor teensy kitten just shivered.

Sometimes I want to feed Marvin to sharks.

Frannhork
I had to teach him how to poop (Francis, not Marvin) by rubbing a wet cloth on his parts. I am not making this up. Our cat Ruby instinctively took over some mothering duties, but mostly Francis followed my beloved Mr. Horkheimer around, knowing Horkie was the coolest cat on earth. Francis wanted to be exactly like Hork.

Youngfran

Some of my friends told me they were steeling themselves for my hysterical "the kitten didn't make it!!" call, but Frannie grew up big and strong.

Sittinlikeaman
And sittin' like a man.

Affectionatefran
Despite the part where he will always be kind of feral, and always kind of nuts because I didn't know how to raise him to be anything but, (have you met me?) he really is an affectionate cat…with us.

Marvnfran
Horkieluvsfrannie
It broke his cat heart as bad as it did ours when Horkie died. They were peas and carrots.

Today, Francis is a teenager. He has arthritis in his cat hips, and a giant disgusting cyst on his side, he hates the dog and he weighs 750 pounds. I guess his salad days are behind him. But I am glad he came into our lives with his "MEEEEE!" cry.

Happy birthday, Francis.

Snottyfran

Fran despise all you. Stop look at Fran. And I not a bird.

57 thoughts on “If you thought he was angry before, now he’s a teen

  1. You may not want us to look at you, Francis, but we still love you and wish you a Happy Birthday, you handsome cat!
    From Elsie and her furbabies Gingersnap, Snowpea, Butterbean and Sassy

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  2. You know this post touched my heart (as tears roll down my face). Emmy Sweet Pea and Oscar Snuggles would have been 16 last Wednesday. A stray cat that adopted us, Mollie Moo Cat, brought her two kittens to us and dropped them on our kitchen floor, of course one at a time. Vet said they were less than a week old. We were fortunate to have Mollie to feed and train them. Sweet Pea lived to be 12 and Oscar lived to be 15 1/2. Mollie did a wonderful job, because these were the two sweetest cats we have ever had. Thanks for such a great post!

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  3. Aww, such a sweet post! Your Mr. Horkmeier was a gorgeous cat! They remind me our our two kitties, who adore each other. Coincidentally, our two are also both boys. I’m just saying.

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  4. Good for you Fran. Happy puberty Birthday! No coming home after your curfew or talking back to your parents, young man.
    It is the ones with attitudes that last the longest. I’ve found it’s the same with people.
    Billy Joel said it best…Only the Good Die Young. Uh oh. My time is coming soon.

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  5. Happy Birthday, Francis!
    When I worked at a vet’s office, we had a cat that had 5 kittens by C-section. The momma couldn’t nurse them and the owner didn’t want them. We girls split up the 5 kitties, with me taking two. They all lived, even though their human mommas weren’t well equipped.
    I gave the girl, Sara, to my best friend. She still rules their roost. The boy, Elmo, is now 10 years old, 16 pounds and the most loveable ginger cat that ever walked the earth. He is also a great hunter, go figure. Too many headless birds at my bedroom door to count. He lives with Skater now and I sure miss him.

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  6. Aw Fran! I just love Fran. I don’t care how bad he is. I have 2 teenage cats, both 16, and they are fat, weird, and cranky too.
    Happy Birthday Fran!

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  7. Ahh…I have such a problem controlling myself around baby kittens like that. I just wanna pick them up and squish them so bad, I think it’s actually a little bit dangerous to be around them when they are just that teeeny and cute. Luckily our fat cat is GIANT and quite squish-proof.

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  8. ps – Gaybor…teehee, love it!
    And also love how Francis was all MEE, MEEEEE, MEEEEEEEE even from the start. He is a proper grumpy cat, the best kind.

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  9. Happy birthday Fran!
    I had to take care of five kittens once. I tell everyone that it was my experience at parenting. Middle of the night feeding and pooping for five kittens was great for my social life.

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  10. Fran is the Man! Love that sitting pose! My Dachshund had puppies almost 3 weeks ago, and last Sunday she was mauled by two Rotti’s. That night was the worst, not knowing if she was going to make it, and bottle feeding 3 hungry pups and doing the rub down there too! After 2 days of that, we are so glad she is ok enough now to make milk again and take care of puppy ablutions herself.

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  11. Happy Birthday Francis! That felt really weird since not one of our pets has ever celebrated a birthday…and by that I mean we don’t celebrate their birthdays, not that they don’t live longer than 12 months.
    Our current cat, who I think is right now called Aslan (the kids have also named him Jimmy, Pussywillow and Susie) is approximately eleven years old.

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  12. Happy Birthday Francis! I think he is quite dashing.
    I love the Nick and Nora sheets in the picture with Fran and Horkie! I had the same ones. And several pairs of Nick and Nora pajamas. I had them before Target started selling them. I might have worn them with my high-heeled loafers.

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  13. Happy birthday, Fran!
    I was telling my husband that I went to a girlfriend’s house and her roommate had a cat she kept telling me was really mean. And I kept walking over to it to touch it and she kept warning me and I finally said, “Is it okay if I’m okay if she bites me?” She bit me. I think I would bother Francis to death if I were around him.

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  14. My beloved fat orange kitty, Norman, made it to 18. You have the potential for much more time to (fill in the blank with an appropriate verb) Francis, methinks…

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  15. Oh, I was going to mention but I’m hungover and forgot, when I bottle fed five kittens someone gave me a kitten and puppy milk recipe instead of buying that expensive stuff. It was canned milk, karo syrup and egg yolks. My five grew up just fine on it. Also, I didn’t use a bottle. I just used a baby medicine dropper.

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  16. Happy Birthday Fran! My brother and sister kitties, Studebaker and Mercedes, lived to be 17 1/2 and almost 19 respectively. Studebaker was the best boy every and Mercedes was a little diva. Hopefully Fran has a lot more years of being feisty.

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  17. Hey do you still have that overall dress? I desperately need one for my ’90s-themed birthday party. If you let me borrow your dress, I’ll invite you to my party. My planned outfit is: sleeveless plaid shirt, overall dress, chuck taylor low-tops. I used to own all those things. God only knows where they are now.

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  18. Francis, Happy Birthday! I’m in love with your facial markings!!
    June, your hair length and style in the last image of you is gorgeous! I think that length suits you well.

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  19. Thanks Gra and Furry. She is doing great this week especially since the pups can stay with her now. It was quite difficult keeping them away from her those first few days so she could recover.We’d let her nurse a bit, then supplement. She’s such a great first time mom. Oh,and Junie, I had to show my hubby the pic of Fran the Man, telling him about how you had to make him poop, by, you know, rubbing his um…”Nought” says he. Who loves himself?

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  20. Tiffaney who thinks francis and my 97 yr old grandmother are the same person. For their spitfire nature, that is. says:

    Charles Nelson Riley School of Gaydom. Dying.
    Happy birthday Francis, you surly bastard! Here’s to many more days and nights of givin’ ’em hell.

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  21. When we had to put our Terrible Tootsie LeRoux to rest, at the tender age of twenty-one, the vet said she knew it was time because all Tee Tee hadn’t once tried to slash open her face. All she wanted to do was snuggle and be sweet.
    It was just so unnatural.
    I apologized profusely to Terra upon her introduction. (Needless. She ADORED him –the only man she ever loved.) I kept saying, “She’s very OLD. She’s eleven.”
    Nearly eleven more years. So you may have Frannie for a while…

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  22. Oh, this was so much better than those Dear Leta, today you are 856.3 months old letters.
    My beloved Oregano had a similar story, not as exciting as Fran’s, though. But we got him very young and he was an absolute shit for most of his life. He lived to be 20.
    Team Francis.

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  23. Oh, this was so much better than those Dear Leta, today you are 856.3 months old letters.
    My beloved Oregano had a similar story, not as exciting as Fran’s, though. But we got him very young and he was an absolute shit for most of his life. He lived to be 20.
    Team Francis.

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  24. Oh, this was so much better than those Dear Leta, today you are 856.3 months old letters.
    My beloved Oregano had a similar story, not as exciting as Fran’s, though. But we got him very young and he was an absolute shit for most of his life. He lived to be 20.
    Team Francis.

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  25. Aww how sweet. He reminds me so much of my old cat, who hated everyone except me with a passion. (She was found and rescued at about the same age, along with the rest of his litter, in a bin. Each kitty was in a jam jar with the lid on. No wonder she was nuts, poor little mite.)

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  26. June – my first cat lived to be 23. She survived cancer at 9 (thanks to some experimental kitty chemo from MSU). At 23, she had another tumor growing between her ears, was deaf, and couldn’t keep anything down. It was so hard to put her down because she had been a part of the family for so long. When my 2nd cat died at 12, I felt like I had been robbed. He was so young.
    12ontheinside – that is the most awful thing I have ever heard. I am so glad you/someone rescued them.

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  27. Oh…and that gay neighbor thing? Was he like Demi Moore’s neighbor Ron in “St. Elmo’s Fire”???

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  28. Aw…baby Fran. We, too, ended up with a one pound kitten that I had to bottle feed…and there I thought my child-rearing days were over. He’s now twelve pounds of long-haired man cat.

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  29. Haha – I love the picture of you feeding Fran – you look like you just gave birth. Is the man(?) in the picture holding Fran your gay neighbor? It must be because he looks pretty gay. 🙂 Nancy

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  30. Lisa Pie : I think she was the only one of 4 or 5 to survive – I rescued her from the cat protection society. She was so nuts in the end I had her on kitty-prozac. She had a good happy life, I am so glad I took in my special needs cat. (and I cried so hard when she died).

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