Tribute to Emma


Emma was a very different cat from any other cats that I owned.  When she was rescued, she was outdoors, pregnant, and being tormented by some teen-aged boys.  After she had an unusually small litter of two kittens, I adopted her from Pacific Animal Foundation.  My veterinarian thought her age was 1 to 1 ½ years, although another vet said that she may have been as old as six. 


Emma was so frightened of people (especially males) that my husband and I did not see her for the first two weeks that she lived with us.  I placed her litter box and food in a room where she was hiding under the cedar chest.  I began to slowly move her food dishes a few feet toward the kitchen each day until they were in an ideal spot for her to come out and eat her meals.  Emma warmed up to me fairly quickly and became very affectionate, but she never wanted me to pick her up or hold her.  She did not want to be near Ron, but she loved his slippers.  She would smell inside them, roll on them, and throw them in the air!


She learned to recognize several words and phrases.  She knew the meaning of:

                        Lie down

                        Roll over (especially when being brushed)


                        Are you hungry?

                        Do you want supper/a treat/a bedtime snack?

                        Time to go nighty-night

                        Do you want to rest? (afternoon nap with me)

                        Let’s play ball/Here it comes/Are you ready?

                        Up-up (going up the stairs/jumping up on a bed)

                        Do you want to go outside?

                        Look at the sunshine.

                        Do you want a brusha-brusha?


Many times when I went into a room where Emma was resting, I would greet her with a two tone “Hel-lo.”  One day she greatly surprised me when she walked into a room where I was dusting furniture, and she made the sound, “Eh-woh!”  She began doing this regularly, using the “word” correctly, as a greeting.  Sometimes she was so loud that she startled me.  Occasionally she would look at me and try to catch my eye.  When it was obvious that I had glanced at her, Emma would “fly” down the stairs or into a back room.    


When Emma realized that I was lying on the bedroom floor doing exercises, she joined in on the “fun.”  She would lie on her side near my head and put her nose in my hair, sniffing it and occasionally trying to lick it.  At that point she was shooed away!


When Emma wanted breakfast, she pulled on the sheet and blankets, trying to “dig” me out from under the covers.  She also tapped my face with her paw and watched closely for my eyes to open.  I delayed that as long as possible!


Every day after her breakfast, Emma went downstairs for a drink from the fountain in the foyer.  She preferred drinking moving water.  I think she knew how the fountain was operated, because on one day when it had not yet been turned on, I saw Emma touch the switch with her paw!          


Emma began having gum infections.  After nine months of numerous injections, antibiotics, and applications of ointment, the decision was made to extract all of her teeth.  She suffered for a few days and ate only soft food but was eventually able to chew kibble on her hardened gums.


Throughout her years with us, Emma developed several illnesses and by the time she was twelve years old, she was struggling with feline herpes (a respiratory condition), asthma, and pancreatitis.  For a few months she was doing well but then began vomiting and coughing regularly.  Her balance began to waver a bit, and she often hesitated before attempting to jump up on a bed or couch.  When I noticed two lumps and a sore on her lower abdomen, the vet suggested the possibility of mammary tumors.  This information added to her other problems helped us make the decision to euthanize Emma before she showed signs of suffering.  We wanted her to have a peaceful death.


During the last fourteen months of her life, Emma was my constant companion and comfort while I was recuperating from hip and knee replacements.   As she went to sleep for the last time, I stroked her fur and said, “You’re a good girl, Emma.  Nighty-night.”


 See photos of Emma 


September 2010