Creating memorials in loving memory of our pets...

  
Memorial created 06-12-2009 by
Steve Frank
Frank
April 15 1995 - June 11 2009

This page is in loving memory of our Frank Frank.  He will be greatly missed and be in our hearts forever.

Frank passed away Thursday morning, June 11, 2009, at his home in New York City.  He was struck down by squamous cell carcinoma, a very aggressive tumor, on his upper palate.  He was 14 years old. 

 

 

Frank was born in April 1995 in Portland, Oregon, to a family who had just adopted a cat that turned out to be pregnant. It soon gave birth to a litter that included "Figueroa," as he was named at the time.

After my previous cat, Moortje, had passed away in May 1995, a co-worker at KGW-TV, Jim, alerted me that he had this litter of kittens who needed homes.  I wasn't planning to adopt again so soon, but I knew these kittens couldn't wait for me to heal from my loss.

 

My friend Michele and I went over to Jim's house and tentatively identified Figueroa as a frontrunner for adoption.  A week later, I went back and decided that I would take him.  He cried all the way home in the car, but calmed down once we got there.

Figueroa immediately demonstrated that he was a fun cat, full of life and personality with excellent social skills.  He played with anything that moved, interacted with the neighbor kids and was well-behaved in all ways.

I liked the name Figueroa, but was looking for something a little different.  My second cousin, Jared, suggested that I name him Frank because when I meet people, many don't hear the "Steve" in my name and just call me "Frank."  It was the perfect in-joke! 

 

Frank grew up fast, ending up bigger in size and with a thicker coat than I had expected.  I must've been feeding him something good!

Sometimes, Frank would check out the neighbors, even inviting himself in for a visit.  One time, he snuck into the back of a car visiting my next door neighbor.  The visitors drove off, not knowing he was inside.  Luckily, they discovered him when they parked at a nearby grocery store.  They traced their movements back to my neighborhood and returned Frank safely.  Whew!

 

In July 1996, we sold our house in Portland and moved to Seattle for a new job.  I had planned a trip to Europe at this time, so during the transition, I let Frank stay at my parent's house in Eugene.  There he was hosted by his cousin Tiger the cat.  Tiger could've been defensive and territorial, but instead he welcomed Frank with open arms, even letting him be the boss!  When Frank was tied to their deck with a leash for a day to make sure he was properly oriented to his new surroundings, Tiger stayed by his side the whole time.  Afterwards, they explored together and played like buddies [update: Tiger passed away on Monday, June 20, 2011, at age 15.  He was a sweet and loving animal.  We will miss him dearly].

 

Frank always adopted well to new surroundings.  In Seattle, we lived in an apartment for about a year, then moved into a house near Green Lake with a pet door already installed.  He loved the freedom, but unfortunately, just a few months later, Frank was severely injured at the base of tail.  I came home to find him back inside the house, walking around wounded.  I immediately rushed him to the animal ER.  Our best guess was that he was struck while fleeing from a car.  Ironic, because our new street was only one-lane with minimal and relatively slow traffic. 

I visited Frank in the hospital everyday for a week.  He was stable, but not improving, so we decided to remove his tail.  It was permanently paralyzed, plus it was tugging at his nerve endings.  A few days later, I figured the vets had done all they could and it was time to bring him home.  If he died, at least he'd be home with me.  But after two days, he started going to the bathroom on his own and quickly healed after that.  Whew!

 

In 1999, I moved to New York City for another job.  Frank stayed with my parents for a few months, then flew him out.  We moved in to a brownstone on W. 76th St. on the Upper West Side, about a half-block from Central Park (by the way, we lived just down the hall from the apartment of John Travolta's girlfriend in the film "Saturday Night Fever").  I was really worried because Frank always loved to go outside.  Obviously, he couldn't go outside alone anymore. 

Luckily, my first job was late at night, so I started taking him outside on a leash after work.  He behaved so well, I put away the leash and started walking him with a squirt bottle.  We went out every day walking and sitting on our stoop.  He did get out of my reach for a few minutes a time or two, but he never ran away or got lost or injured.  And after his accident in Seatlte, he had a healthy fear of cars.

Frank got a lot of attention on W. 76th Street.  Dogs are common sites, but a cat outdoors on the streets of Manhattan is very unusual.  Plus, as you can see, Frank was so charismatic.  People would stop and ask his name and talk to him.  He even met actor Jerry Orbach, whose mother, Emily, lived above me.  Each year on Thanksgiving Day, he would also watch all the thousands of people leaving the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Many noticed him, smiled and waved hello.

On 9/11, Frank was in the pet hospital again, this time with a urinary tract problem.  His doctors couldn't get to Manhattan that day, so he had to be transferred to another hospital for care.  When I told him what happened, he cursed the terrorists.  It was the only time I ever saw him get angry.    

 

After three years on W. 76th Street, we moved 11 blocks north to a bigger apartment.  Here, he had a protected garden out front (high up with a railing around it) and access to a large, clean basement and back area full of intrigue.  Again, he became a local celebrity, as he was on 76th St.  We also had a nice neighbor, Jackie, who would take care of him when I was out of town. 

In the back area, Frank became the mentor of some alley cats, taken care of by another neighbor, Bill.  Frank would keep them straight and teach them manners.  He even visited them when they were captured and caged in order to be fixed.  He reassured them that their confinement was only temporary and they'd be back to their homes soon (Inky, Inka, Evelyn, and Tiggs signed Frank's guestbook, they are so nice!).   

Frank picked up one more friend in the last few years of his life.  Another stray cat, although more domesticated, joined the group in the back.  Orange in color, "Red" would regularly greet Frank with kisses (seriously!) and by welcoming rolls on his back.  They would then go off and explore together.

 

But perhaps the greatest day of Frank's life came when my new girlfriend, Lisa, moved in with us in 2004.  Lisa hadn't been around cats very much and really wasn't sure what to expect.  She liked dogs, but thought most cats were aloof and didn't have much personality.  

But of course, Frank quickly launched a charm offensive on her.  He won her over by showing constant curiousity for her projects and activities.  When she brought home various foods and goods, he would jump up on the counter and inspected everything.

Soon, she realized he had a loving, complex, outgoing, social personality.  He responded to her by talking, purring and rubbing against her.  Lisa fell for Frank in a big, big way and completely changed the way she thought of cats (Oh by the way, Tiger also charmed Lisa in the same way and they became best buddies, too).

When Lisa and I got married in 2007, we had a few pictures of Frank on display at the wedding.  He wanted to be there, but this was the next best thing.  After the reception when we got home, we discovered he had secretly let Lisa's friend, Ann, inside to decorate our apartment for our wedding night.  And Frank, of course, had to jump on the counter and inspect everything we had brought home from the wedding.

Lisa commissioned a professional photographer who lives in our building to shoot pictures of Frank in January 2009.  Levi usually takes pictures of rock stars, but he decided Frank had rock star quality, too.  You can see most of the pictures he took in the slideshow and photo album which I highly recommend. 

A month later, Frank was diagnosed with a fatal tumor.

These first few days without him have been difficult for Lisa and myself.  The loss is tremendous.  But we are comforted by all the love Frank Figueroa Frank was given over the years by so many people in Portland, Eugene, Seattle and New York. 

Please sign our guestbook, and if you have a pet, please give it a hug in Frank's memory!

Thank you,

Steve and Lisa

 

Please sign the guestbook for Frank by clicking here

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