There are stories that are so uplifting—they simply need to be heard and shared. Such is the story of Frankie, a foster cat that has one of the most inspiring stories we’ve heard in a while. In truth, Frankie’s story even has the power to restore our faith in humanity, even though it also has parts that break our hearts. Frankie is a disabled cat that once lived at the City of Stockton Animal Shelter in California. Recently, Frankie was adopted after holding the record for the longest animal stay in the facility ever—a total of 175 days. That’s almost 6 months in a facility while needing extra care. There’s no doubt that the caretakers at the animal shelter have done the best possible job in taking care of Frankie during her stay there. However, the goal for cats in a shelter is to find a forever home, especially for the case of Frankie who needed extra attention because of her disability.
When Frankie came to the shelter in March 2020, she came with a spinal injury after being shot on her back. The details about how Frankie got shot in the first place were unclear, but there were x-rays that showed the actual bullet fragments lodged onto the animal’s spine. The sight of that alone was heartbreaking to say the least, but Frankie was determined and seemed unfazed by its situation. Frankie underwent surgery for its back, and it was clear that she would have a long road of recovery ahead. The caretakers at Stockton were quick to be smitten with Frankie. Lynda Duarte, one of the vet technicians, even remembers the first time she met the cat. Duarte fell in love with Frankie immediately and stated that there was something special about the cat.
It’s difficult to understand without knowing the context. We can only imagine the kind of pain Frankie must have felt when she got shot, when she underwent surgery, and even after it all. Pain is one of the biggest and most common triggers of aggression for cats. It’s also known that cats have the ability to mask their pain well, but Frankie’s pain must’ve been substantial. The fact that Frankie maintained a positive and loving disposition despite her disability is already amazing. Frankie has often been described as patient. She’s also extremely affectionate not just towards her caretakers but also towards her peers and other animals at the shelter.
As loving and adorable as this gray and white, green-eyed cat may be, we know why it took 175 days before Frankie was adopted. Caring for a disabled pet takes dedication that not many people are ready to commit to. It took an entire community of help to find Frankie her forever home. After much sharing on social media and other outlets, a foster volunteer from The Dancing Cat in San Jose stood up to the need and decided to adopt Frankie. Everyone at Frankie’s former animal shelter was overjoyed with the news. They even sent Frankie off properly with a well-planned party to celebrate her life and her future. It’s clear that Frankie is a much loved member of the community, and many people are just glad to see that she’ll finally get her own home. Knowing that Frankie still has a long and possibly difficult recovery ahead of her, her new foster family is ready to take on the challenge.
They recently gave an update regarding Frankie and how she’s adjusting to her new environment. Frankie is settling in well with her new foster mom. She’s also going to receive physical therapy to help in her recovery. During Frankie’s stay at the City of Stockton Animal Shelter, Frankie exhibited a slight improvement, but no one can be sure what’s in store for her future. Feline physical rehabilitation can be challenging for both cat and owner, but it’s usually worth it in the end. Physical therapy for Frankie would take some time, money, and dedication from her new foster mom, and it’ll also take a lot on Frankie’s part. Many new technologies and medical advancements have been developed to help improve disabled cats’ lives. Because of Frankie’s paralysis, movement for her has been made possible with the use of a cat wheelchair. While the primary goal is to improve mobility of Frankie’s paralyzed legs, the long-term goal is simply to give Frankie the best life possible.
Caring for a disabled cat also requires a set of environmental standards. Floor traction can be an issue for cats that walk with a wheelchair. Bladder and bowel control may also be an issue for some paralyzed cats, and even litter box use may prove to be more challenging. Self-grooming might also prove to be a difficulty, and we all know how much cats love to groom themselves. With paralysis also comes limited movement, which might result in sores and aches. All of these points towards a difficult life for Frankie, but recovery for her will start with a loving foster home. With the help of Frankie’s foster mom and determination on Frankie’s part, the cat may continue to live a good life. Frankie is only 4 years old, and she still has a long life ahead of her. Even though Frankie may be blessed with nine lives, she’s surely not wasting the one she’s already got. Frankie has been an inspiration to everyone that encounters her, and her story is proof that there’s always hope to come—even if waiting might take 175 days or more. She’s inspiration that even through paralysis and disability, there’s a life worth living and love worth having. We’re all happy for Frankie and her new foster mom, and we’re all hoping for the best.