“Where’s the cat?” Carr asked.
“He’s stuck under the seat,” she said.
He was already frustrated she brought him a stray, and now he was tasked with coaxing the terrified animal out from the wedge created under one of the back car seats.
He had never heard such loud meowing.
After tugging on the kitten’s small back legs, Carr finally wiggled him out and watched him tumble to the asphalt below. With a sigh, he gazed down at the small animal.
His dark, striped fur was messy. His whiskers were bent. The disheveled kitten, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, fixated his gray eyes on Carr.
His name is Franklin – Frank, for short – and he is the most famous member of the Sigma Chi fraternity at UNC.
A couple days after Frank’s initial rescue, Gavry Eshet walked into a room in the fraternity house and sat down on the bed.
That is when he saw a shoebox. Confused, he bent down and peeked inside.
He saw little gray eyes gazing at him. The same gray eyes that had already captured Carr’s heart.
The kitten had been to the vet by that point. The day after he found Frank, Carr took him to get checked out.
He was not eating any food, so the vet gave him baby food, which he immediately gobbled down. It took a couple more days for Frank to grow accustomed to eating cat food.
Carr then took Frank back to the frat house, and for the next couple weeks, the kitten lived in his room. After Eshet encountered Frank in the shoebox that afternoon, he decided that he would share ownership with Carr and one of their other fraternity brothers.
After some contention from others in the fraternity regarding allergies and shared spaces, the three owners came to the conclusion that Frank would be an outdoor cat.
“Any cat is unpredictable,” said Halle Lutz, a recent UNC graduate and veterinary student. “As long as it gets – and stays up to date on its vaccines – it shouldn’t pose a greater health risk to the fraternity than a cat raised indoors.”
Now, just over a year after they first found him, Frank is full-grown, healthy and freely roams the streets of Chapel Hill.
Eshet, Carr and their other fraternity brother split the bills for Frank. If anyone in the fraternity house sees his food running low, there is shared responsibility for making sure the bowl is filled.
Carr said there have been sightings of Frank all the way down at the Dean Dome. In terms of the houses on fraternity court, the cat is a local celebrity.
“I’ve seen him with some other cats, also people,” Eshet said. “Someone calls at least every day, like, ‘Hey, found your cat,’ or ‘Hey, your cat followed me home, what do I do?’”
But they always know Frank will come back home. After all, he needs to eat.
Though all three owners are currently students at UNC, Eshet said when they graduate, he hopes to take Frank and raise him.
But until then, Frank will continue exploring and adventuring around the town of Chapel Hill, delighting students and visitors alike.
And he will always be an honorary member of the Sigma Chi fraternity.
“He rules Sigma Chi,” Carr said. “He owns it, basically.”