Cats supposedly have nine lives, but 16-year-old Frankie from Warrington, England is evidently down to eight. On May 19, Frankie went missing from the Fitzsimons’s home. By the following morning there was still no sign of Frankie, and his family worried something was terribly wrong. It was unlike the teenage tabby to stray far from home, so his panicked family set out to look for him.
Rachel Fitzsimons, her husband John, and the couple’s two kids searched tirelessly for their beloved cat. Just days after Frankie vanished, however, the heartbroken family stumbled upon their worst nightmare. While driving down a nearby highway, they spotted what appeared to be Frankie’s lifeless body on the side of the road.
“We called the Highways agency who were very helpful and went out several times to look for the body,” Rachel told Manchester Evening News. “I gave them a description of Frankie; a fluffy tabby with a white tummy, and the dead cat matched that.”
Tragically, given the condition of Frankie’s body, they were unable to find the cat’s microchip. However, the Fitzsimons family realized with heavy hearts that it was most likely their beloved Frankie, given his markings and proximity to their home.
After contacting their vet, the grieving family decided that cremating their furry family member would help them begin healing from their immense loss. The Fitzsimons’s son Remy tearfully slept with Frankie’s ashes on his bedside table, desperately missing the cat who slept by his side every night.
Three weeks after Frankie’s disappearance, just as the family was coming to terms with their new reality, their beloved cat threw them another curveball.
“My husband heard a meow outside and then I heard him shouting,” Rachel recalled. “We all ran out and there was Frankie! Remy was crying and asking: ‘Is he real?’ It was an amazing moment.”
Frankie was thin and dirty, but otherwise unharmed. After receiving a clean bill of health from his vet, Frankie returned home, immediately falling back into his daily routine as if nothing had happened. Where had Frankie gone for those few weeks? Whose cat had the well-meaning family cremated? The Fitzsimons family has no answers, and maybe they never will. What they do know, however, is that Frankie is home safe – and that’s more than enough.