Frankie, a New Zealand stray tom who was abandoned while still a kitten, was left to fend for himself for more than a year. For that entire period, he hung around a McDonald’s parking lot and begged for scraps.
The Kiwi cat has now been picked up by animal welfare organization SPCA. Despite initially refusing to eat ordinary cat food, Frankie has now been encouraged to switch back to a more nutritionally balanced diet.
Frankie picked up his name from McDonald’s staff and patrons in the Hamilton suburb of Frankton. The stray would regularly plead for chicken nuggets and beef patties from drive-through customers.
But, when Frankie’s health started to show signs of deteriorating in recent weeks, SPCA field officer Jessica Watson stepped in. Jessica, who is caring for Frankie while she looks for a family to adopt him, told Stuff:
“I estimate he lived in the McDonald’s carpark for 12 to 18 months. Everyone knew to keep an eye out for him. You would go through the drive-through and ask for a burger for you and an extra patty for Frankie. He would watch you and trot after the car, wait until you stopped the car and then you would toss him the meat. It was his little routine.”
However, McDonald’s regular Jessica soon noticed Frankie was less than well. The cat’s face was becoming increasingly swollen, his coat was more matted, and his eyelids would not close properly.
Happily, after two weeks of living indoors with Jessica on a balanced diet, Frankie is back to being in rude health. Watson says:
“He wasn’t overweight, but McDonald’s wouldn’t meet the nutritional requirements for a cat. They need very high levels of protein and I wouldn’t think takeaways would provide that.”
Getting Frankie on a balanced diet proved a challenge, with the cat showing signs of a fast food addiction. Jessica adds:
“When I first took him home he refused to eat anything because it wasn’t McDonald’s. I seriously considered going back there to get him a burger. I would put pet food down and he would give me a look like, ‘What is that?’ ”
A couple of days later, and Frankie was back to a diet of cat biscuits and water – in portions that weren’t super-sized. And, if there was one perk to Frankie’s McDonald’s diet, it’s that he won’t be troubling the local wildlife. Jessica told Stuff:
“I’d say he loves cheeseburgers far too much to worry about any birds.”
And the really great news? Frankie’s story has prompted dozens of inquiries from families who want to adopt him.