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Requiem for a good cat

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Late, of Lanesville (Gloucester) Massachusetts, Frank the cat Neumeier, known variously to family, friends, and guests as Frankenfurter, Frankenfus, the Frankenator or simply His Frankness; at 15, of an encounter with coyotes, recently of Gloucester and even more so, lately.

Frank was a good cat, a life-long bachelor, and though fond of mousing on occasion, was built less for speed than comfort. He was gray, with small, triangular ears, and could move quickly. Mainstay and notable presence these past five years at post-paddle get-togethers at Liz Neumeier’s house in the seaside town of Gloucester, where typically he paraded amongst guests, rubbed the occasional leg, and never mooched unless there was fish, Frank was tolerant of his owner’s guests’ intrusions into the private baths he maintained on the house’s first and second floors, even when those guests were dressed in neoprene or other remarkably stinky, overpriced fashion statements of their allegiance to the saltwater environment which is anathema to cats.

Frank never tired of showing off his private entrance (i.e. cat door) on the first-floor stair, both of which (cat door and stair and, on occasion, entire house, including foundation) he claimed to own and to have built by himself one weekend a couple years back, a complete fiction of course, but a story which, as bragadoccio, was endearing to hear, as Frank was at all times and in all other respects a most friendly and good-natured cat prone to occasional exaggerations, usually about how hungry he was.

Frank was best fed by the inexperienced with alacrity and quickness (“get that hand out of my bowl now, mister”). His daily ration was one table- spoon of wet food, a small plate of dry. If you didn’t get out of his way in time, he would knock the bowl out of your hand, trundle himself under foot, snake around somewhat and then send you, flying, into either the utility sink, out the back door, or smack into the fridge. If your antics did not elicit indifference it could elicit a meow of “Serves you right!” and a guffaw, best translated as “Mrowfffff!” or “Mree-owwww!!”

Not one to suffer fools gladly, nor interlopers or houseguests who had the audacity to “bed-hog” his sleeping areas on the lower and higher beds of the first-floor bedroom, and elsewhere, and in fact all over the house, including the couches and all of the chairs, and most of the rugs, and sometimes even smack right there in the middle of the floor where you were trying to walk in the dark, Frank was nevertheless a gentleman, which is notable for a cat. He would knock politely on the guest-room door as a sort of warning before barging in wholesale, jumping up onto the bed, and then clambering all over you before beating a rapid tattoo into your limbs and chest with his paws. Yet he never failed to keep his claws retracted, and thus was known as a gentleman possessive of sleeping areas, even if he snored loud enough to make your teeth chatter.

Rain-cloud grey in color, grey, indeed, as the Cape Ann dusk, Frank loved the outdoors so long as the sky was clear, the barometric pressure in the upper ends of the milibar, the moon in the third quarter, no chance of rain, temps between 32 and 82.5 F, and something worth stalking out on the back deck. Not one to stand on ceremony much, Frank was friend to anyone who fed him, who petted him in just the right spot and in just the right manner, or who wielded the fur-brush by the fireplace with the correct pattern of stroke, pause, double-stroke, pause, and then quitt before he gave one a warning growl and showed you “the claw”, just to remind you who was boss.

Man-about-town to the end, Frank passed two Saturday nights past while on deep-cover maneuvers in the thickets near Liz’s. There, as any self-respecting cat would, he was out checking the perimeter and prowling around lest other any other cat trespass or Andrew Binks, Natalia Berg, Marc Schlosser, or any other past houseguest or house-sitter, the writer included, walk off with any of the things he considered his, Liz’s kayaks notably excepted, as he had always been skeptical of kayaks, even if Liz did once try to convince him that a cockpit was a comfortable place to nap, a gambit he rightfully interpreted as a ruse designed to turn him into a kayaker, which he would have none of, thank you very much, as he was “A cat, not a seal, Ma’am”. Frank loathed water, but could have swum if the mood struck him. (Never did.)

While Frank may have been unimpressed by kayaks, even those made of Kevlar or those designed to win races and used but once or twice a year, and though he tolerated dogs only somewhat, and certainly had his doubts about NSPN, it being a water-focused organization rife with dog-owners, Frank did like and enjoy Liz’s guests, and for sure he loved Liz. He will certainly be missed by anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him, especially those who loved him, and especially by Liz, who loved and knew him best. May this good cat find in his heaven a plump feather bed, plumper mice, and the occasional stash of top-shelf catnip.

Requiescat in pace, good Frank, good cat. Fifteen is a good number of years for a cat to live, yet far too few for so singular and tolerant a clubhouse character.

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Sounds like a beloved pet was taken by those scourge.

As a coincidence, I am in need of parting with two cats, both spayed females, always kept indoors; one a six-year-old short-haired tuxedo with milk mustache, the other, her baby, a five-year-old calico. We need to give these guys a good new home as our condo association forbids them.

These guys would never take his place, but could possible help fill his space. Any interest, please let me know.

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Franks was the coolest, and it often seems the cats with the biggest personalities are the ones with the best and most loving owners. I'm glad he had such a good life, and while he was slowing a little, he skipped any major body malfunctions of old age. What a character he was. He never even seemed to mind me calling him The Ottoman. (Of course this was only because I long suspected he was a reincarnated sultan of the Ottoman Empire.) Rest in peace, buddy.

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Living with two elderly pets - one a magnificent 13.5 year old German shepherd named Lili; the other a fabulous nearly 17-year-old kitty named Nermal - who, in their old age, learned to live together in relative peace (if you ignore Nermal's occasional swats at Miss Lili), I totally sympathize with the loss of Frank's love, companionship and antics. I'm glad to hear that it took TWO of those bastards to take him down!

Adam - that is an incredible piece of writing and such a loving, humorous, full-hearted tribute to a beloved pet/mascot.

Frank: I wish I'd known you!


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I know how tough it is to lose part of your family in the form of a furry creature. Sorry, Liz.

May Frank be eating cans of fresh fish and dozing in paradise.


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Having babysat (catsat?) Frank at Liz's place on a couple of occasions last summer, I can honestly say that he's the reason we now have settled down in Rockport. Frank was so laid back and easy to care for that it freed up some time for us to discover and explore the charms of Cape Ann for the first time (mostly from kayaks, of course, but we also got completely lost hiking in Dogtown...).

I've dedicated my first circumnavigation to of Cape Ann to Frank, which I did in a bit over five hours on July 4. I went clockwise starting from our home at Back Beach, and I can only say that with the ideal weather conditions and spectacular scenery, I could hardly imagine spending the occasion in a more appropriate way. Thanks to Frank, I hope this will be the first of many such 'roundtrips'!

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