February 2005 - August 2018
When we first met young Francie at the cat shelter in the summer of 2005, she crawled into my wife's purse on the floor, as if saying, "Please take me home." We did. Her outgoing personality and her soft white fur and light blue eyes were impossible to resist. We didn't know at the time that the combination of white fur and blue eyes is genetically related to deafness in cats, and I am glad no one at the shelter told us because we might not have chosen her if we had known. We might have thought that such a cat would need specialized care. But it turns out that deaf cats really aren't any different from hearing cats -- except they don't run and hide from the scary loud vacuum cleaner (preferring instead to ride it) and they probably sleep more soundly.
Francie gave us so much joy. We loved her and spoiled her, and she loved us. I'd come home from work and she'd see me and perk up, giving me a little meow greeting, trotting over with her tail held high. I'd pick her up -- all 6 pounds of her (she was so small even when fully grown) -- and I'd hold her, and she would be purring and kneading. She always liked to cuddle up at night and sleep on my arm, her head right next to mine. I felt fortunate that this adorable little fur ball chose me for this honor. She even did this on her last night alive, when she was very sick. I was her special human, and while I love all our cats (we have three others) my bond with Francie was unusually strong. We are heartbroken. We miss you, Francie. I will think about you and miss you for the rest of my life.