Senior FIV-positive cat adopted into perfect home

Senior cat who is 15 years old and positive for the feline immunodeficiency virus had a tough time finding a home, but then found the perfect one.
By Christelle L. Del Prete

Fran, the FIV-positive senior cat“It's a very quiet place without her now,” says administrative assistant DeLynn Brainerd. The place she’s talking about is Hope House, Cat World’s medical building, and the cat in question is Fran, a spunky senior who’ll always have a special place in the hearts of the caregivers she entertained during her short Sanctuary tenure.

Older cat with FIV

Fran had a loving home for most of her life, but when her person passed away she had nowhere else to go. And she soon found out that it’s not so easy to find a new home when you’re a 15-year-old cat. Complicating matters were Fran’s health issues. She has feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), which weakens her immune system and makes her more susceptible to certain infections. She needed a little extra care, along with some expert help finding the perfect place to spend her golden years. So Fran came to the Sanctuary.

A cat full of life and silliness

Because she has a mass in her chest that needs monitoring and treatment, Fran became a “permanent” member of the Hope House family, taking up residence in the lobby. There, she made sure everyone knew that she wasn’t about to let her age or her health issues get her down. Still full of life, she’s got quite the sense of humor and soon, she was surprising and delighting her caregivers with her silly side.

First, she checked out every nook and cranny of the lobby. During her exploration, she found some interesting items and decided to help herself, beginning with a bag of strawberries on a vet tech’s desk. Next, she pilfered a bag of grapes from someone’s lunch. Then she swiped a bag of cotton balls from a counter. The enterprising cat was even clever enough to find the drawer where the cat treats were stashed, and to open it wide enough to stick a paw in and fish out a bag.

Senior cat who loves to play

But Fran wasn’t as interested in what was inside of the bags as she was in the actual bags, especially if they were the crinkly kind. When she got one of those, she would carry it all around the lobby, sounding her version of a meow — a signature croak — to let everyone know she’d found something really fun.

She had a few other tricks too. One day when the groomer arrived, she leaped right into her bag of tools. “That was her,” DeLynn recalls. “She either carried bags around or got into them.” But Fran was curious about people too. She liked to climb up onto the cabinets above the front desk, sit behind the plants and watch all the goings-on. Whenever staff members came through the door, she would run over, jump up on the desk and greet them. It was as if they needed her approval before entering the premises. “She made us crack up on a daily basis,” DeLynn says.

Fran the 15-year-old cat on a cat scratching padPerfect home for the perfect cat

It was that vibrant personality and her funny, froggy meow that won her a place in the heart and home of the lady who adopted her, Susan, who calls her “an absolute delight.” Fran certainly delights in her new life by enjoying catnip toys, scratching boards, bedtime cuddles and naps wherever the sun shines — especially up in the window box.

The lobby may feel a little empty at Hope House these days, but the joy Fran spread around the place in times past endures.

Learn more about Cat World at Best Friends.

Photos by Molly Wald and courtesy of Susan