• StevenF

The Experiment (or "Set It Free")

Updated: Apr 12

I would imagine you've heard that expression, "If you love something, set it free; if it comes back, it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was." We've been a bit perplexed about what to do about Franki, whom I have written about here. He (we found out his sex today) doesn't seem like a typical stray. He seems well fed, healthy, well groomed, and house trained. He has been coming to our yard since about the time Jasper died in October but recently has not been leaving our yard at all, so if he is a stray, I think it's recent.

The problem is nobody seems to be looking for him. Isaias frequently checks the lost cat notices on multiple websites. He's gone back an entire year, and there don't seem to be any cats matching him. Maybe he was abandoned. Maybe something happened to his owner. Maybe his owner is not internet savvy. In any case, no one seems to be actively looking for him. The facts that his ear is clipped and he's neutered indicate that he was at one time captured and released, so maybe he was never somebody's cat. We just don't know.

We just don't want to take somebody's cat away from them. We have kept him in our house (in Jasper's old room) for the past four or five days hoping his absence would spark his owner into looking for him. Nada.

So yesterday we tried an experiment: we let him go back outside, hoping maybe he would go back home. We even left him out while we both went to work. I was nervous about it because I don't want him to get hurt. What's funny is that when Isaias first started taking care of Franki, I told him we needed a cat break. "Can we just concentrate on the three cats we have left?" I asked. And yet, it's me that has started to become attached to Franki and wants to keep him. So I was sad that Franki might go back to wherever his home might be.

But he didn't go anywhere. The minute he heard Isaias' voice, he bounded out from wherever he was in the yard, and so Isaias brought him back in.

So we set the big guy free, and he came back. Does that mean he's ours? Not sure yet. We still have so more to do to determine that.

We had an appointment to take him to the vet today. I took him to see Dr. Bullard, who was Jasper and Trooper's primary vet. Franki was really well behaved. As I said, we found out he is male and has been neutered. He's a full-figured boy at 10 lbs. He's probably no older than 3 years old. Dr. Bullard said he appears to be a healthy cat. He tested negative for feline leukemia, and we should get his FIV results tomorrow. We also got his very long and sharp nails trimmed (he did not enjoy that). We also had tests done on his urine and feces because boy, do they smell terrible. I have a bad sense of smell, and Franki's bowel movements almost make my eyes water they are so foul.

If he turns out to be FIV negative, we will try to slowly integrate him with our other cats. I think Grizzabella is already jealous of the amount of time we spend with Franki. Blondie will very likely not be too fond of him. Chappy will be scared of him and not like him, either. If we could get Franki and Grizzabella to get along, though, that would make me happy. Grizzy could really use a friend (besides me) in this house.

I do worry how Franki will respond to the girls. He's an enormously sweet cat but does have a wild side and gets spooked pretty easily. My guess is he will hide rather than attack, but there is the potential that he could hurt one of our girls if provoked. My biggest worry is that he tends to freak out when panicked.

But we have been letting the girls smell his scent and vice-versa, and they do know he's around. Whether he will be ours permanently still remains to be seen, but I would put odds on yes rather than no. Isaias is really sad we can't find his family. I admit I am not trying as hard to find them as he is.

Oh, and I thought this was interesting. When I signed in at the vet this morning, the pet's name above my entry was "Jasper." A sign, perhaps? It actually said "Jasper & Gizmo." If it had said, "Jasper & Trooper," I would tell Isaias to stop looking for Franki's supposed owners; he's ours now.

But what if that is true? What if he is ours? What if we are his family?

I bought him some more food, so I guess I'm preparing for that eventuality. I also bought some more of the food Trooper used to eat. Grizzabella used to eat her leftovers. I gave Grizzabella the three remaining cans after Trooper passed. Grizzy was very annoyed when the food stopped coming. So I bought some more to give her as an occasional treat. She will be happy about that. Hopefully she'll be happy about Franki, too.

Here are some photos of Franki. Aren't his eyes beautiful?

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