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Matilda And Her Fat Cat Frank
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My pets have all had human names—Roger the dog, Holly the female hamster, Hugo who was Holly's husband and who was also a hamster, Maggie a white house mouse, and of course, my current pet, Frank the cat.
The only time I deviated was when I re-named my pet snake who was called Betty and who ran away from home. When she came home, out of shock value, I called her Slippy.
Over the years I have had a number of dogs. They were named Mark, Mike, Matthew, and another Bob... they seemed like good solid names. And I had always wanted a cat named Frank.
A girl called Helen at the other end of my village got a cat and named her Matilda (maybe after me). She is so cute, the cat not the girl!
Helen thought, very loudly with her big mouth, and with her friends standing all around her as I passed, that it would be funny to name your cat a very human name. Like a dog named Mike or Kevin and a cat named Peter or Frank. For some reason, at the time, this did not make me laugh one little bit. This was probably because she knew I had been thinking about getting a new cat for a long time, and that I had already named it Frank.
Anyway, I don't care if Helen teases, I refer to him like, "Wouldn't that be charming if Frank could..." I'm not sure whether it is a funny name or just weird behaviour on my behalf.
Frank is such a cute cat! My father named him 'farty' Frank and everyone seems to giggle when I tell them his nickname. Frank, however, is not a silly cat, but he can often be entertaining. It cracks me up to see him act like a human. Mrs. Jameson, nicknamed the village witch on account of her claims that she can predict the weather, fondly calls Frank by the names Charlie or Misty, depending upon the time of day. General sentiment is that she is one sandwich short of a picnic.
Frank has only one enemy, a huge but extremely old German shepherd named Albert who hangs out unleashed at the dog park where I like to take my laptop or a new Steven King. I can't help but giggle every time his very short owner totters across the field for him after Albert pursues Frank to the old oak tree at the centre of the park.
Most people say that Frank is the fattest cat they have ever seen. Yes, I overfeed him, both milk and human food. And while I know it's wrong to give a cat ice-cream, I do that, too. Frank, like me, has a sweet tooth, and he can never decide on just one flavour.
Frank is named after the actor Frank Gorshin. In French, you pronounce the F from the back of your throat. When a little girl who lives across the road says his name, she always thinks she says Frank but she actually says "Rank," which means smelly in English. As Frank passes wind quite a lot this is not such a mammoth mistake, really. Besides, when this little girl calls him "Rank," Frank still comes running to her!
Although in all truth I never thought of the name rhyming when I named him, and he was quite smelly when I bought him from Johnson's Pet Store.
Regardless of the fact that Frank is fat and smells, he is my beloved cat, and he comforts me when I have troubles, normally by jumping about on my lap, which I think is hilarious.
Our next door neighbour has the most adorable female ginger cat named Tab. Her owner has a habit of dressing up like Oscar Wilde. I love to see him in his garden talking to her, as they look quite adorable together.
As I said, Frank is very funny. I suppose he reminds me of Bob my last dog who would bark at TV Soap introduction music
At number 32 in the street lives a boy who seems very strange to me. This is because while I think it is perfectly normal to name a pet after a human name, on the other hand, I find it kind of weird when people name their animals with a "Mr" or "Mrs." He calls his girl cat Miss. Paterson, or something of that sort. He said she is named after a teacher he likes at his school.
I saw a strange thing last Thursday just as I was coming home with cat food for Frank. There were three kittens who were miniatures of Frank sitting on Mr. Davidson's window at number 12. Gorgeous I thought, the kittens not Mr. Davidson. Sitting all together around the sill was a local cat named Tics and a girl dog named Smoggy.
Mr. Davidson's niece, who lives with him and his wife, have a fish named Zip. The kittens, Tics and Smoggy, were all watching Zip in its bowl through the window.
I have no idea who owns the beautiful kittens. I have asked about, and Uncle Hector who has six turtles (all named after super hero characters) thinks they could be Frank's sons or daughters. But I don't think Frank is able to have regular relationships with lady cats because of his size. While I don't think Frank is the father, the kittens do look a little like him. I suppose no one thinks that their pets will be future parents. Pets having babies is a bit like passing wind, best not to think about it, and when it happens, it's just better to hope that's the end of it.
My first pet was a hamster named Holly, and when I told people, they thought it was hilarious. I just thought she looked like a Holly. So it just seemed right to call Frank, Frank. Although while Frank is sweet, he can scratch, so perhaps he should be called Scratchy.
Almost all of my friends have cats. I have an internet friend called Mary who has a pet cat called Jane. She sends me photos of her and Jane all the time. When she lived in London, she lived in a house with a picture of a cat on the door, and I got a picture, which I placed on my fridge. And when she lived in Cornwall, she bought a weather vane with a frightened looking metal black cat on the top. She sent me a picture of this, which is also on the fridge. Actually, most of my kitchen is covered in cat pictures and ornaments, all sent by Mary. My favorite is my cat teapot sent last Christmas, which she bought on the Kings Road in Chelsea.
Last week I went into the village. I was in a cafe reading about the pet competition at the weekend, and decided I would put Frank's name down. Afterwards, I saw an article on people who love to wear just one colour, and I had an idea about dressing Frank up for the competition. I decided to dress him up in camouflage.
The outfit was easy to get hold of at the local kid's clothes shop. Frank is so fat he can fit quite snuggly into the clothes of a 6-year old boy. He looked like a very tough cat indeed dressed in his combats last Saturday when we went to the village pet competition.
The competition was held in a marquee on the grassy quad in the centre of the village. I signed the register and filled out the card, which was to be placed in front of Frank. The sign read 'Matilda and her fat cat Frank' and I used a heavy red marker for impact.
Frank sat next to a lady and her husband who had a very sweet light yellow Labrador unoriginally named Lab, although my opinion was that Lab was the best of all the dogs.
Helen and her mother passed by the table on which Frank sat, and just as sarcastic as her daughter she said, "Matilda, he is so adorable, insanely irresistible, and the colour of his uniform, you must love those army men." She finished by noting how different it was that he had a very human name, putting far too much emphasis on the word 'different'.
The judges were just finishing off with the dogs. Last in line was a dog with an old man name, Waldo. "Is it a girl?" an old lady who was one of the judges asked. The old man seemed horrified, picked up Waldo and walked out of the marquee.
'Those old people have the coolest names for pets,' I was thinking as the three judges, two women and one man, arrived at the table on which Frank sat.
They asked me if I was Matilda, which was no doubt a silly question as I had on a name badge. They questioned why I had named him Frank, and what I fed him, so I told them. They asked what he generally did, and I mentioned that his regular hang out was on the sofa watching TV with a tub of ice-cream. I also told them that when he can gather up enough strength, he will sit on the wall behind the Quentin hotel with which we share a back garden wall. For some reason, Frank likes to sit on the wall and watch the suitcase trolleys being brought in and out.
While I was talking, Frank started to claw at the combats and after a few seconds managed to work off his combat shorts. The gentleman judge tried to help pull them up but Frank decided to pass wind as soon as the man's face was lowered. After that, it was all downhill. Frank's weight and constant fidgeting broke the table in half and I was scolded for feeding him so much. Also, apparently, according to the village judges, you are supposed to name your cat with a pet name like Tibbles or Ginger and not with a proper human name like Frank.
Just then, old Albert the German shepherd had the idea that having Frank so close and with his shorts around his knees was too much of an advantage on which to miss out. Needless to say, anarchy ensued in the marquee for the next five minutes as more and more animals joined in the Tom and Jerry-style race around the marquee.
Control was eventually established but not before Frank managed to eat young Peter West's mouse, Saggy.
I will finish by saying that Frank and I have been barred from the village pet shows for life. I have taken down some of the cat pictures and taken up aerobics. And Frank, well, he still sits on the garden wall looking at the Quentin Hotel suitcase trolleys coming and going. Only these days he is accompanied on the wall by three smaller cats who are extraordinarily similar in appearance to him.
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