Cat Lives Off McDonald's for a Year

Jessica Watson and the new and improved Frankie (Photo by Waikato SPCA)A cat addicted to fast food has been rescued by the SPCA and put on a health plan to help him kick his McDonald's addiction, according to New Zealand news website Stuff.co.nz.

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The black-and-white tomcat, dubbed Frankie by McDonald's staff and customers, was only a kitten when he was abandoned by his owners. So the cat made his home in the parking lot of a local McDonald's where he would beg for chicken nuggets or fries from cars as they exited the drive-through lane.

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But just as the human body can't properly function  from a junk food diet, Frankie's couldn't either and the McDonald's staff became concerned for his health.

One day, Jessica Watson, a field officer with the Waikato SPCA and regular McDonald's customer, spotted Frankie. After noting his swollen face, eyelids that wouldn't properly close, and matted coat, she brought him into her care and launched a search for his permanent owners.

"I estimate he has lived in the McDonald's carpark for 12 to 18 months," Watson told Stuff.co.nz. "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."

Thankfully, after a few weeks of living inside and eating nutritious food, Frankie's eyes are clear and his coat is shiny. "He wasn't overweight," said Watson, "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."

But weaning Frankie off burgers and fries wasn't easy.  "When I first took him home he refused to eat anything because it wasn't McDonald's," said Watson. "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?'"

Surprisingly, there are some human foods that cats can eat. According to Dr. Elizabeth Colleran, President of the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), while cats should never consume onion, garlic, kelp, grapes, raisins, sugary treats, chocolate, and alcoholic or caffeinated drinks, items such as cheese, meat, vegetables, fish, and eggs can provide protein and other nutrients.

It took a few days but Frankie has quit his fast food habit and consumes water and cat biscuits. And he always asks for seconds. "He's a big, and healthy, eater," said Watson. The silver lining to Frankie's bad habit? Watson suspects that his love of fast food made him less prone to stalk endangered native bird species. "I'd say he loved cheeseburgers far too much to worry about any birds."

Since Frankie's rescue, he's become somewhat of a celebrity. The SPCA is fielding so many requests to adopt him that applicants are being asked to report in person to the offices, where they can complete an "expression of interest" form as part of the selection process.

Keep up the healthy eating, Frankie!

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