Skip to main content

Our Community Focus

A TANGLED LOVE STORY By Shereen Motarjemi

Aug 27, 2017 03:37PM ● By Elena Hutslar


By Shereen Motarjemi

Relationships can be complicated. Take, for example, Frankie and Barbara Noon, who live in the Virginia Hills neighborhood. She keeps the household together while Frankie stays out all night and comes home only to eat. But Barbara knows it is futile to try to change him. She loves him and lets him live life on his own terms.

Frankie does go to his workplace every day, however, so it could be said that he contributes. He works at Sloat Nursery on Alhambra, which happens to be located on the other side of their back fence. Frankie’s job is to exterminate vermin, and his record is six dead rats in one day. But that is the extent to which he is willing to work.  Customers have seen him napping. His colleagues have accepted he is unwilling to do any heavy lifting, period. 

Here’s the truth: Frankie does whatever the heck he wants and has trained all the people in his life to accommodate him. Why do they put up with his behavior?  Well, they love him, and love can be hard to explain.

Barbara first met Frankie about twelve years ago, when he was homeless. She tried to resist him, but his blue eyes made her think of Frank Sinatra. Perhaps it was his animal magnetism that pulled their hearts irresistibly together. Soon they were living in her condo, which is when Frankie started catting around at night. Since he was almost never home, Barbara realized that the only way to spend time with Frankie was to visit him at work.  She had to face the fact that this is just Frankie’s way; everyone must to come to HIM.

And come to him they do. He is treated like royalty by the Sloat staff, particularly longtime employees Anne and Karen.  Customers, too, have developed a relationship with Frankie.  All of his friends accept that he rules his world.  Having an entourage of supporters may even have saved his life.  Once he hid in the back of a customer’s truck but was noticed before the truck left. Another time, about five years ago, Frankie showed up at work with a broken leg. The nursery staff helped get him to the vet and even chipped in to pay his hospital bill! That is how deeply loved this cat is.

This love story has another wrinkle; Frankie and Barbara’s relationship includes the presence of another person, Lee Rude, who has been in a long-term relationship with Barbara for all of Frankie’s life. Lee admires Frankie’s independence and seems to relish being bossed around by this cat.  For his part, Frankie deigns to allow Lee to rub his chin and pick him up – an honor he extends only to special people.  

But about a year ago, Barbara and Lee had a falling out and broke up, with Barbara getting custody of the cat. Lee missed Frankie terribly and had to figure out a way to continue to see his feline friend!  His solution was to visit Frankie at Sloat during business hours.


Fortunately, in time, Barbara and Lee got back together again.  Did Frankie have anything to do with the reconciliation?  The couple insists not. Well…maybe.

All evidence points to a cat with a long history of manipulating people into serving his feline wants. Doesn’t it seem possible that a cat smart enough to train his people might also be cunning enough to make them believe they belonged together?

Frankie fan mail may be sent to [email protected].