A black and white kitten was abandoned when his owner was evicted, and moved into the parking lot of a local McDonald's branch. He soon learned to beg from the customers leaving the drive-thru, but his health suffered badly.
Staff at the McDonald's branch in Frankton, New Zealand aptly named the kitten Frankie and developed an affection for the black and white moggie as he hung around in the parking lot.
He quickly learned to beg from the cars as they left the drive-thru window, and local residents eventually bought an extra patty or a Chicken McNuggets for Frankie when they visited the McDonald's branch.
“He would watch you,” said Jessica Watson, the SPCA field officer who eventually rescued Frankie, ”and trot after the car, wait until you stopped the car and then you would toss him the meat. It was his little routine.”
However staff noticed that Frankie's face and eyes became chronically swollen, his fur was matted and his general health was declining rapidly. Whether you are a human or a cat, a diet based primarily on fast food is just not healthy.
Luckily Watson, the SPCA field officer noticed the cat's ill-health and noted how long he had been living in the parking lot, living on the McDonald's diet. “I estimate he has lived in the McDonald’s car park for 12 to 18 months,” she said.
Watson took Frankie home with her, and had trouble weaning him off the junk-food addiction.
"He wasn't overweight, but McDonald's wouldn't meet the nutritional requirements for a cat. When I first took him home he refused to eat anything because it wasn't McDonald's," she said. "I seriously considered going back there to get him a burger."
“I would put the pet food down and he would give me a look like, what is that?”
However, she persevered and eventually got him to eat regular cat food, and after a few weeks his eyes cleared and his coat became shiny again.
Now Frankie is fit and healthy and is up for adoption. As he has become a minor celebrity, the SPCA has been fielding many requests for adoption by asking people to visit their office and fill out an “expression of interest form” as part of the selection process.
We just have to hope that his new family supports his healthier diet.
However, there was one advantage to his former diet - he left the local birds alone.
"I'd say he loved cheeseburgers far too much to worry about any birds," added Watson.