We lost our cat, Emily, this week at the ripe old age of twenty. This picture is from Wikimedia Commons, but it looks just like her.
In a way, it’s the end of an era. I adopted Emily and her littermate, Patch, when I outgrew student digs and moved into my first nice apartment. Patch passed away three years ago. We loved her, but bless her heart, she wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. She used to do things like get her head wedged in cracker boxes or get stuck between chairs with her front feet on one and her hind feet on the other. Emily was the brains of the outfit. She took it upon herself to come and get me when her sister got into trouble. “Mom, you’d better come quick, she’s done it again.” She missed Patch terribly when we lost her.
Patch always disappeared when company came, but Emily used to screen my dates. If she didn’t like the guy she would ignore him; if she did, she’d climb into his lap. If this bothered him, I knew he wasn’t the one. A man who doesn’t like animals is not the man for me. When I started seeing Everett, Em made it clear that she approved. Everett grew up with cats and took her attention as a compliment. A strong point in his favour.
While we lived in my flat, we used to let the cats outdoors, but we stopped when we moved to our house. There were coyotes in the area. So, when Emily couldn’t be found at bedtime one night, we worried. She missed prowling. Had she managed to sneak out on us? Then Everett looked out the living-room window and saw that his car’s four-way flashers were on. He went out, opened the door and out popped Emily. She’d snuck out earlier when he’d gone to get something from his car, and jumped in. In the dark, he never noticed. Somehow she managed to hit the button that turned on the flashers. She was known from then on as the four-way flasher cat.
I doubt if we’ll have a cat again. With our two rambunctious dogs, it doesn’t seem fair. When we brought Chance home as a pup, the girls put him in his place and they coexisted peacefully, but Echo is a different story. She’s driven to chase anything that moves, and I think she’d hurt a small kitten. If we brought home an adult cat, there’d probably be blood on the ground. I love our goofy tail-waggers, but there will always be a place in my heart for beasties that “walk by their wild lone and wave their wild tail where it so pleases them”, as Kipling put it. Goodbye, Em, and thanks for the memories.