Franco meant a lot to me and Mike. He came to us on 23 December 1997, after having lived at the SPCA shelter in Garner, NC for 2 months. He was a very exceptional and intelligent cat, and he gave us almost 7 years of happiness, amusement, and--most importantly--a great deal of love and companionship. Not many people I know would name their cats for fictional rulers of vast stellar empires, but I did because I'm a geek like that. Franco was a very personable and mellow cat. Visitors to the Klein house would always be greeted by a "mrrple" and a rub, and sometimes a little good-natured begging for food. He was a very people-oriented cat as well, and his favorite day of the week was the Friday D&D nights that we used to have at our old apartment, where he would curl up in the middle of the floor (sometimes on the dice) and observe all of us as the DM (Mike) would hose the party repeatedly. Occasionally we would talk to him, and he always had something to say--especially if one of us was on the phone. A call to our house would invariably have the caller trying to stifle giggles at the constant "Meow? Meow. Meow!" in the background--because, of course, who else could Mike or I be talking to but the Regal Pudge? Anyone who slept on our couch would invariably be awakened in the middle of the night by the Nighttime Food-Summoning Ritual (which consisted of Franco climbing atop the sleeper and purring as loudly as he could while kneading them with his big--and rather sharp--claws), as Franco decided that anyone who slept on the couch was part of the family and, therefore, a Provider of Food (ladypredator can attest to this). He was also a Glen Wesley fan, as evidenced by the cat hair-laden (and slightly crumpled) Litho Industries Wesley card that he'd had in his cat bed for several months. Several times I was tempted to have Wes sign that card "To Franco, my furriest fan"--but I never did because I'm slack that way.
The Celestial Wisdom is currently lying in state at the Raleigh After Hours Emergency Vet Clinic until Thursday, when he will be cremated at Six Forks Animal Hospital. His ashes will be buried under the lilac bush at my mother's house in Garrison, North Dakota sometime next week. Franco is survived by his people, Mike and Camille, and by his protege Chancellor Maximilian Liao.
I want to thank those of you that I've shared the trial of the last 2 months with from the bottom of my heart for your thoughts and prayers during Franco's illness. If you have a pet, please take some extra time to show him or her lots of love (and some treats). I know that Franco would appreciate it.