As many of you know, June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and it’s also the height of feline breeding season. During this time of year, animal shelters around the country are flooded with homeless and newborn cats—and the ASPCA is no exception. But although things are hectic, we think it’s important to pause and recognize the adopters who make a difference by opening their homes to felines in need. For this week’s Happy Tail, we checked in on two bonded kittens named Frankie and Zuzu who were born during the 2013 kitten season. Here is their story.
When Frankie and Zuzu were born, their future was anything but certain. It was May 2013 and they were just two of the thousands of kittens who arrived at the ASPCA during that year’s kitten season. Zuzu was suffering from chronic rhinitis due to nasal damage caused by illness, while Frankie had to have one eye removed due to irreparable damage from an infection. Both siblings were shy and easily overwhelmed; it was clear that they had not received enough attention from humans in the early stages of their life. They relied on each other, and we hoped to find a home where the sweet kittens could stay together.
Five months later, our hopes were answered in the form of Stephanie W. and her husband, Chris. Already parents to a Puggle named Maggie, the couple decided to adopt a cat after pet-sitting for a friend. “We realized that we loved living with cats, and that Maggie would do fine with a feline companion,” Stephanie says. “After that, I was ‘casually’ perusing the ASPCA Adoptables and saw Frankie’s face, and I knew I had to bring him home.”
At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Stephanie and Chris learned that Frankie was bonded with Zuzu and that they needed to be adopted together. “We were both excited and a little hesitant, but after meeting them, we just couldn’t leave them,” she says. “They were both so sweet and shy, and so clearly attached to each other, we felt compelled to give them a home where they could become comfortable and confident together.”
Although the kittens were older now—around nine months at the time—they were still tiny and timid, and Stephanie admits that their transition wasn’t always easy. Zuzu was standoffish at first, and it took months for Stephanie and Chris to gain her trust. Meanwhile, Frankie developed litter box issues that required a dietary shift and a great deal of patience. In time, though, both babies relaxed into their new home—and their new life—happily. “Now Zuzu loves being pet and actually asks for belly rubs, and her rhinitis went away completely,” Stephanie says, “and Frankie has been nothing short of wonderful.”
As the kitties continue to learn and to grow, their uncertain past seems a lifetime away. “Frankie and Zuzu are constant entertainment as they chase each other around the apartment and chatter all day long,” Stephanie tells us. “They have become so affectionate and confident, and watching their friendship is heartwarming and adorable. They now love cuddling with us and the dog in bed, and while Frankie still isn’t totally sold on our Puggle, Zuzu adores her and follows her everywhere.”
We are so grateful to Stephanie and Chris for giving these sweet kittens a second chance at life. If you would like to make difference for an animal during kitten season, check out our tips for getting involved in Adopt a Shelter Cat Month.