Frank was the first of Chloe’s cats to really take to me, and the feeling was mutual. He was the cat that she warned me about, although that’s far too harsh a way of putting it; it was less a warning, per se, and more of a, he’s a grumpy old cat that doesn’t really like people, so beware. He liked me, and I took that as a compliment, if not a badge of honor.

He looked like an archetypal cat, when I first met him; if someone asked you to imagine a ginger cat, he would be exactly what you’d picture. That didn’t last long. Within weeks of our meeting, one of his ears ballooned up in size and then collapsed into a wrinkled, folded mess; the other would follow suit within a year. He could still hear fine, but his bold, iconic cat look was gone; now he looked more like what I imagined Peter Falk would look like, had he been transformed into a ginger cat.

Nonetheless, Frank was happy. Well, as happy as a curmudgeonly cat that desperately didn’t want to be an inside cat could be — you couldn’t leave the door to outside open for too long or he’d run outside, and he was one of the fastest cats you could imagine, when he wanted to be; if it wasn’t for the fact that he also didn’t want to run too far outside, he would have vanished more than once.

He and I bonded; the joke was that he was “my cat,” because he’d chosen me. I was, am, more than fine with that. I loved when he’d climb on top of me and sit on my chest, purring. I’d love to rub his chin, stroke his fur while he made rrrrrrrrr noises, gently and insistently.

We noticed something was wrong with him a little more than a month ago, and it was quickly diagnosed as a tumor in his mouth that was too big, growing too fast, to do anything about. We were warned he’d likely have only a few weeks left before his quality of life would be impacted, and that we should make plans.

Today, more or less around the time this publishes, there’s an appointment to put Frank to sleep. The only thing I can really say is that I’m heartbroken, and that I’m going to miss my little friend.

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