Connecting With Frankie

Jan 23, 2011 | 2 comments


     My son Charlie shares his Los Angeles home with two cats, Happy Kitty and Frankie.  Happy Kitty is a gray tiger-striped cat with the normal, aloof cat disposition.  Frankie has problems.
     Frankie, like other cats Charlie has had over the years, is a refugee from the local Humane Society.  It was there that he was given his name in honor of “Old Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra.   In addition to his bright baby blues, Frankie is pure white, and, like most felines of that description, he is totally deaf.  Perhaps his deafness explains his shy, furtive nature; perhaps he was abused as a small kitten.  Whatever the reason for Frankie’s personality problems, he isn’t talking.
     Both Happy Kitty and Frankie are inside, one-person cats and  neither is particularly welcoming when we come to visit.  Happy Kitty usually warms up to us in a day or two but Frankie mostly stays out of sight, under Charlie’s bed.  If he does encounter one of us unexpectedly, he totally freaks out.  On one of our visits he spent the entire three days in the fireplace behind the screen.
       Several years ago, Charlie inadvertently left the front door ajar while he was dealing with the curbside recycle bins and Frankie ventured outside.  Once out, he panicked and, rather than going back indoors, he ran into a neighbor’s yard and disappeared.  Charlie combed the neighborhood, talked to everyone within a five-block radius, and put up posters on every telephone pole, all the while resisting the futile urge to call, “Frankie! Frankie!”
     Three months went by and Charlie had pretty much given up hope when the man next door said he thought he had seen a cat fitting Frankie’s description duck into the crawl space under a house up the street.  Charlie talked to the home-owner, bellied under the house, and saw Frankie cowering ghost-like in a corner.  Catching him required a live trap but took only a few minutes once it was baited with a bowl of food.
     Frankie, normally a twelve-pound cat, weighed only five pounds after his ordeal.  At the vet’s he coughed up remnants of plastic TV trays and other bits and pieces that gave evidence of his dumpster diving for survival.  But, survive he did!  And, I do believe he’s even getting braver.  He stayed in view long enough yesterday for me to take his picture.  Definite progress!


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    A teacher I worked with lived down the street and had a white deaf cat. He escaped and as our street is very, very busy she assumed that he wouldn’t survive. Three weeks later he came sauntering back. My cousin adopted the same sort of cat from the Humane Society in Long Beach. I almost never see her. My cousin also has a very intense little dog and while the cat isn’t annoyed by the barking, she gets his meaning and mostly stays upstairs. Gabriel adopted a cat from Long Beach, too. She’s not deaf, but was definitely a skitty kitty when she came to live with us. McGonagal is not a cuddly cat by any means(a disappointment to many of us), but she allow Gabriel to carry her all over the house. She seems to know whose cat she is!

  2. Allison Walker Payne

    Very happy Frankie was found! We have a white deaf cat – one blue eye, one green eye. Often two different colored eyes indicates a cat is deaf only in one ear, but ZsaZsa is deaf in both. She did escape once, after thrashing her way out of a harness and being frightened by a man who was just sauntering up the sidewalk. I finally found her in a neighbor’s fenced porch, and tempted her out, under the fence, with a can of food. Our other cat, FatJake, hisses at her, but she doesn’t seem to care and launches herself at him anyway.


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