Old Blue Eyes
If Frank Sinatra were reincarnated as a cat we think he would be Frankie, a once-stray feline who “yips like a puppy,” adores French fries and has fetching blue eyes just like his namesake. Of course, life did not start out this way for the adult feline, who on one April night was found abandoned on a West Palm Beach, Florida street. It would be nearly three weeks later that the cat found his forever home with a retired Navy veteran hoping to add another cat to his family.
A Navy life
For “20 years and four days” Michael served in the United States Navy, and currently works as a professor in the Medical Imaging Program at Palm Beach State College. He enlisted in 1987 and, “after a few false starts,” found his way to the Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes. In 2011, four years after Michael left the Navy, the hospital relocated to Ft. Sam Houston, Texas.
Michael’s final assignment prior to separating from service included two deployments to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“Liked the place so much I did two tours there,” he says jokingly, “believing my detailer when he said it would be career enhancing. It wasn’t.”
Yet a 20-year career offers no shortage of memories, some better than others, but none more powerful than the relationships forged through shared experiences.
“I have lots of memories, almost too many to count,” Michael says. “The thing I remember the most are the many friends that I made over the years.”
The accidental adoption
Michael and his wife share a deep affection for cats, already having two in their family when they visited the shelter looking for another. The Navy veteran admits that he did not know about Pets for Patriots and our companion pet adoption program for veterans, but was inspired to join when he learned more.
“I adopted through Pets for Patriots by accident,” he says. “After doing my research I signed up, [and] the day I got the approval we adopted Frankie.”
Nearly three weeks prior to his adoption, Frankie – named Sammy at the time by the shelter caring for him – was homeless. He was brought to Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League after being found wandering the city streets.
Sammy’s stunning beauty – a snow-white coat and crystal blue eyes – belied the ugly life he endured as a stray. Yet he had a loving demeanor, and Michael decided he would be the perfect fit for his family.
The Navy veteran adopted the cat, renamed him Frankie and brought him to his new, forever home.
Frankie joins the cat pack
Nothing is known about Frankie’s prior life. Strays cannot tell us their stories, whether they were abandoned by people who could or would no longer care for them, or were born to their lives on the streets. Whatever may have been Frankie’s hard luck story, it was no match to his capacity to love.
“Frankie is a very affectionate cat,” Michael says, “He is by far the most affectionate cat I have ever known.”
It is the way that Frankie shows love that has Michael’s daughter convinced that he was a “street cat.”
“He doesn’t meow like a cat,” he says. “He yips like a puppy. He loves table scraps, especially McDonald’s French fries.”
Yet every chance he gets the cat with the fetching blue eyes loves nothing more than to snuggle.
“He likes to climb on my chest, nuzzle in my beard and knead my neck,” Michael says, adding, “I think he was taken from his mama too soon.”
Although Frankie has joined two other cats in his new family, he seems most attached to people. Michael notes that Frankie will nuzzle “anyone who he catches sitting down anywhere in the house,” and favors body contact when he sleeps at night.
“When he is beside you,” the Navy veteran says, “he will keep a paw on you to maintain physical contact.”
To the casual observer it would seem that Frankie got the best of the adoption. He no longer faces an uncertain and probably grim future on the streets. He has people who love him and provide for his every need. Yet despite all this, Michael insists that pet adoption is just as meaningful to him.
“Best thing you can do,” he says, “you get to rescue a dog or cat in need, and in the process you can help yourself out.”