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One night, Francisca Franken was browsing the website of her local animal shelter when she came across an unusual cat. There was something about the cat's flat face, tough attitude and sad eyes that made her stop scrolling.
"I saw her photo and fell in love the second I saw her," Franken told The Dodo. "Well, at first I laughed because the pictures were so funny and I'd never seen a cat like this before.”
She immediately wrote to the shelter to see if the cat was still available, and was so nervous waiting for a reply that she couldn't sleep that night. But when the shelter called her back, they couldn't believe she actually wanted Bean.
"I got a call from a friendly lady from the rescue who asked me if Bean was really the cat I wanted to apply for because, apparently, nobody had been interested in her before," Franken said. "The woman who called me was scared that I just pressed the wrong button or something.”
Before coming to the shelter, Bean lived as a stray in a trailer park. She was suffering from an eye infection and other ailments and had never known the love of a home. But Franken was determined to change that.
"One woman led me to her room, and what I saw was much more beautiful than I could ever imagine,” Franken said. “Bean was (and still is) so tiny and small. She has very stubby legs and a short tail and the flattest face I had ever seen. I started crying when I walked into her room because I was so overwhelmed. She was not at all what I had imagined — but it was so much better.”
"A lot of people who saw her at the shelter said she was ugly, but I think she's the most perfect girl ever," she added.
Franken immediately brought Bean home, and the cat made sure her new mom understood how grateful she was.
"In the beginning, she was much more cuddly and clung to me everywhere I went," Franken said. "I think she then noticed that she didn't need to 'pretend' like that and that I would never let her go again, even if she stopped being cuddly and cute, so she started to show me her sassy side. But I loved that because she let her true colors shine through.”
Now, Bean sleeps in bed with Franken every night and always has to be in the same room as her. Besides her mom, Bean's most favorite thing in the world is olives. Whenever she smells olives or olive brine, she goes a bit crazy.
"The first time she stole an olive was when I had a little late-night snack and she ran up to me and smacked the olive right out of my hand, scooped it up and ran away to eat it under the couch," Franken said.
Green olives and pimentos contain chemicals called isoprenoids, which have a similar makeup to catnip. Bean is so obsessed with the salty treats that she'll scream at her mom every time she sees her take the olives out of the fridge.
Thankfully, olives are safe for cats — in moderation — so Franken gives her a few as a reward.
Satisfying Bean's olive obsession is the least Franken feels she can do for the sweet cat, considering everything Bean has done for her.
"Bean is not a real emotional support animal but she's definitely gotten me through tough times already, and I can't put into words how much I love her," Franken said. "She means the world to me and she deserves all the love after having such a rough time before coming to me."