Georgi Anderson — who works at Geelong Animal Welfare Society near her home in Geelong, Australia — was speaking with the organization’s foster coordinator one evening, when she was learned that a cat with four ears was scheduled to arrive at the facility the following day. “Now we’ve seen some interesting creatures at the shelter,” says Georgi, “but nothing like that, and I thought she was joking with me.”
However, when Georgi got to the shelter the next day, February 9, 2018, she asked — in jest — to see the four-eared kitten. “One of the girls showed me a photo and said, ‘He’s up in the vet clinic waiting for his eye removal; go check him out,’ ” remembers Georgi.
Curious to meet the unique kitten in person, Georgi found him in his cage, awaiting surgery to remove one of his eyes, and immediately felt an indescribable connection with the 9-week-old cat. “I took him out of his cage, and despite the pain he must have been in with his damaged eye, he rubbed both sides of his face against me and just snuggled in,” remembers Georgi.
Having fostered several felines in the past for the shelter, Georgi offered to provide the one of a kind kitten with a temporary home where he could recover from the surgery to remove his malformed eye. “He was likely born with the eye deformity,” says Georgi. “It is not uncommon with kittens, especially if their mother is a stray.”
In addition to having four ears and a malformed eye that had to be removed, the kitten also had a severe overbite. “There is little known about occurrences of four-eared cats,” explains Georgi, “but in the cases that I have found, almost all of them have some kind of other deformity — such as overbites, dwarfism, and cognitive disability.”
The shelter eagerly agreed to let Georgi foster the kitten following his surgery that day, so just hours after she laid her eyes on the cute tabby and white feline for the first time, she brought him home.
While she felt a unique bond with the unusual cat, Georgi — who had lost Francie, her 14-year-old beagle, just two weeks earlier — had no intention of adopting the four-eared kitten. “My heart was aching,” says Georgi. “I didn’t want to open myself to another pet. I already had three cats — I did not need another permanent resident!”
Having offered to foster the kitten while he recovered from his surgery, when the week was up, Georgi found it impossible to part with him. “There was this connection that I have never felt with any other animal in my life,” says Georgi. “It was almost as if an invisible thread was joining us together.”
While she felt a strong urge to take care of the kitten with four ears, one eye, and an overbite, it was his personality — not his unique appearance or special needs — that convinced Georgi he was meant to be in her life and she in his. “There is a perpetual sweetness to him, despite everything he had been through, that compelled me to see this through,” remembers Georgi.
Thankfully, the shelter agreed that Georgi would be able to provide the perfect home for the cute one-eyed kitten, and on February 16, 2018, she officially adopted him, giving him a name that is unique as he is. “I posted a pic of him on a mum’s Facebook group I am part of, and one of the ladies commented, ‘That is the most adorable little frankenkitten I have ever seen,’ ” says Georgi, “and bam, that became his name.”
It’s been three months since Georgi officially adopted Frankenkitten — or Frankie for short — and he’s loving his life in his forever home, sitting in baskets and boxes like a typical cat. “If a cupboard is open, he will take the opportunity to go inside,” says Georgi. “He loves playing with little bells, pompoms, marbles, bits of paper and feathers.”
Frankie, who began his life with Georgi as a foster kitten, also enjoys playing with the many permanent and temporary felines in his home. “He loves wrestling with foster kittens and antagonizing the older cats,” says Georgi. “I have seen him stalk and jump out at my dog Dudley and then run off like a lunatic.”
While Frankie is a very happy and active cat, he has had to face a number of challenges throughout his young life, including dental problems that required expensive surgery. “I have been very lucky in that Frankie has a loyal following of people on Instagram, and together they raised all the money needed for Frankie’s canine teeth removal after a financial setback of my own resulted in me not having enough to fund his surgery,” says Georgi. Frankie also has issues with his knees that will likely require surgery and lifelong care and maintenance, but his mom is determined to get him the help and treatment he needs.
“There have been some online comments about Frankie suggesting he is a freak and should have been drowned or put to sleep,” says Georgi. “I feel it is mostly fed from the belief that anything outside of the norm is defective.” However, Frankie is not defective, and while he looks a bit different from other cats and has a few challenges, Georgi is confident he has an excellent quality of life.
“Others have labelled me cruel for keeping him alive — they believe his quality of life must be grossly diminished,” says Georgi. “Seeing him running around and playing with the other cats, you would never suspect that he was being held back or limited by his differences.”
Obviously, it’s difficult for Georgi — who doesn’t really enjoy the spotlight — to be criticized for simply trying to give Frankie the best life possible, but she’s willing to endure the scrutiny because she knows that not only does this cute four-eared kitten have a lot of fans, he is in a unique position to help raise awareness about special needs cats.
“I wish more people could understand that animals with special needs have as much a right to a chance of a good life as any other animal,” explains Georgi, and she hopes more people will stop seeing pets as possessions and instead learn to view them as she does. “I’d like to see the balance tilt more in favour of the animals as individual beings rather than objects to own and discard if they aren’t perfect.”
While many people wouldn’t call Frankie — who has one eye, four ears, an overbite, and unstable knees — perfect, this one of a kind kitten couldn’t be a better fit for Georgi and her family if he tried. “He completes my little family, and my two sons seem to feel the same connection with him that I do,” says Georgi.
Frankie, who arrived at Georgi’s home when he was a kitten in need of someone to care for him after having surgery to remove his eye, has the uncanny ability to calm his mom and brothers when they’ve had a rough day, comforting them with his cute face, positive attitude, and sweet personality.
Despite feeling an immediate connection with Frankie when she met him for the first time, Georgi was grieving the recent loss of her beloved dog Francie at the time, certain that she wasn’t ready to open her heart and her home to another pet. However, Frankie quickly convinced her that there was no way she’d be able to live without him, and she’s forever thankful that she made the decision to adopt him. “There was a hole in my heart that I didn’t know was there until he filled it,” says Georgi. “He is like a soothing balm on sunburn. I can’t imagine our life without Frankie in it.”
To learn more about this adorable kitten, you can follow Frankie on Instagram.