Cat with an attitude makes a best friend

Walking up to a stranger and giving your level best scowl isn’t the most effective way to make a new friend. Throw in a loud hiss and you won’t improve your chances much. Yet Francine the cat likes to do things her own way. And for at least one other cat at the Sanctuary, her highly unconventional social graces got the job done. She landed herself a best buddy!

Former stray cat with health issues

Cat with an attitude named Francine

Francine came to Best Friends in April 2011. At the time, she was in bad shape. She’d been found as a stray, skinny and sick, in a feral colony. Somewhere along the line her growth might have been stunted from neglect and hunger. Though she’s likely over a year old, Francine looks more like six months. She’s one petite gal! Francine also has a slight neurological wobble in her walk, not that she lets it slow her down any. This girl has attitude. If she wants to get somewhere, she doesn’t let anything — or anyone — stop her.

Attitude cat makes a friend

Francine got along well enough with the cats in her building, though she never made any close friends. Apparently, not all cats like the hiss-and-scowl handshake method. Francine wouldn’t end up in fights or anything; she just sort of isolated herself for the most part. That all changed the day she met Maury a few weeks back.

Maury came to Best Friends from a clinic in Brooklyn. He got in an accident back on the East Coast that caused him spinal damage. When he first showed up at the Brooklyn clinic, Maury couldn’t use his back legs or tail. The staff nursed Maury back to health, using massage therapy and acupuncture, until he began walking on all fours again. He still gets around great these days, yet he never regained tail function.

Maury the tabby cat

When Maury showed up to Francine’s building, she handed out her usual hiss greeting to a new cat. However, then she did something else. She sat and stared at him for the longest time. There was something about this newcomer, she decided. Something worth investigating.

Well, it’s a good thing Maury doesn’t put too much stock in first impressions. These two have become inseparable! "They play all day long," explains caregiver Alex Skolout. They like to cuddle, they like to wrestle ... they’re two peas in a pod.

Best feline friends ever

These two have become such close buddies that, almost without exception, neither cat plays with any other cat. They tolerate the rest of the world no problem, but when it comes to playing around they seek out only each other. Most days they’re having so much fun in their outdoor cattery that caregivers have to carry them in for the night, one cat tucked under each arm. (Until caregivers see them use a cat door, they can’t assume Francine or Maury can find their way in at night.)

Sometimes all you need is one special friend.

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Photographs by Gary Kalpakoff