Emma left us suddenly this Sunday night. Sam and I came home from a late lunch with friends and she was panting like a dog, laying on her side on the kitchen floor, Barrett curled up beside her. Kiddo had texted us when we were on our way home to say she was worried, and we knew as soon as we saw her that we needed to take her to the ER vet. She made it as far as the waiting room, and passed in her carrier, on Sam’s lap. In retrospect, I think I might have preferred she died at home, but there’s also comfort here.
The vets did their best, but she was already gone. She’d had a heart attack; it was quick, and that’s another comfort. We took her home and buried her somewhere she would have liked.
Emma came to us out of the blue; we used to call her our “accidental cat”. It was December, and there was a really nasty snowstorm due in— one of those “we’re going to be snowed in for two- three days” sorts of storms- and exactly then is when we found out that Kiddo had been feeding a neighborhood stray in the carriage room under the house. Emma was in early adolescence, only barely out of kittendom. Kiddo revealed that she had been feeding her for several weeks, and it was a Friday night, which meant our vet’s office was closed.
So we did a very foolish thing which I don’t regret at all; we took her in “just until the storm passes/ the vet’s office opens/ we can get to a shelter,” and we can all see how that turned out. She lived in segregation in our bathroom for two days and that was all it took for us to fall in love with her.
Emma was a talky cat, if you know what I mean; she’d follow us around the house, meeping and waiting for a response. She’d get ornery if you didn’t answer, too; she expected a conversation. She waited for us to wake up in the morning, and she followed us up to the bathroom every evening to talk to us while we got ready for bed. She was the perfect cat companion: she loved her people fiercely, and pretty much nobody else (although she made a few exceptions); she had an ice- cold glare but also these love- stares that just reached right down into your soul, you know? She was always wholly her own animal.
She only lived to be eight, but she had a really good life— full of love and cuddles and conversations and even snuggles with Hugo. Much better than what she would have had if she hadn’t stumbled into Kiddo, no doubt. I’m so glad she got that.
We are sad, these days. I miss my talky cat friend. I miss our late night conversations about politics in the Cat Party, the way she shouted at us when it was time to eat, and her generosity with headbumps. I know that this will fade, even though right now I don’t 100% want it to; eventually we’ll go back to feeding the other cats without wanting to cry. Right now, we just miss you, Emmeka. Rest well, sweet girl.