On December 4, 2006, Francis died peacefully at home, a few months short of 19. What a guy my longtime companion was, and what a long, full life we had together. Though terribly weak and thin at the end, I know he stayed with me as long as he could.
The day before he left, he escaped one last time to survey his neighborhood, scene of chimneys descended, mother raccoons encountered and the various other adventures of his rather accident-prone youth, before being placed under permanent house arrest, with leash walks only. We had a bond that went back to tiny kittenhood and long hair, and he screened my visitors well; fear and scars were exhibited. His behavior at the vet's was impressively wild and impressively handled, with the help of a tranquilizer given at home.
In his later years Francis developed hyperthyroidism, and the medication made him anemic. I began making up a raw food diet and consulted with a homeopathic vet for a few years, until he began to need a low dose of steroids, which precluded homeopathics. The vet and I both felt that he had gained a few years. Of course age and hyperthyroidism gradually took their toll, and he spent much of his last year reclining on sheepskins from eBay. I hung out with him as much as I possibly could.
Somehow life has gone on. As deeply as I miss my Frankie, I feel he will always be with me. Thanks to everyone who understood and cared and helped me with the passing of a cat who was truly proud and majestic right to the end.