One day, Chris Thomas noticed a stray cat sneaking into his backyard through a hole in the fence. But the man from Pittsburgh, PA, had no idea that his soon-to-be feline friend would eventually break the internet and make headlines everywhere.
The cat was feral and wouldn’t let him touch her. But he gave her some food and water nonetheless, and she kept coming back—day after day. He named her Frances.
Eating for two… and then some.
At some point, Chris realized that Frances was pregnant, which made ensuring the cat remained healthy all the more critical.
Oddly enough, prioritizing Frances’ well-being helped Chris prioritize his own.
“At that time, my mental health was really bad,” he said. “And sometimes, the only thing that would get me out of bed was just like, oh, Frances is probably hungry; I should go feed Frances.”
An up-and-coming cat star
Chris began live streaming his interactions with Frances, and the internet noticed. The duo gained a large following as people invested in Frances’s pregnancy and Chris’s mental health.
“It turned into this mental health check-in thing, but with Frances facilitating like she was some group leader,” Chris explains with a laugh.
Eventually, Chris was able to lure Frances into his home using food. While Frances was initially on edge being inside, she soon made his house her home, too.
“I made it very comfortable for her,” he said.
The big day
Frances gave birth to a litter of kittens, and Chris live-streamed the entire process.
National media outlets covered the story, and it even topped Reddit. Even more importantly to Chris, however, his presence in the room during the births forged an unbreakable bond between himself and Frances.
“From that point on, I swear, that’s like the moment she started trusting me.”
Donations started pouring in so Chris could take care of the kittens. And now, his furry family has grown to eight.
More than just a pet
Chris and Frances’ story has tugged at heartstrings everywhere, showing just how life-affirming it can be to welcome a cat into your family.
“She took my life in a completely different direction, and now I love to leverage our story to help other cat families and educate and raise awareness,” Chris told Newsweek. “She saved me just as much as I saved her.”