I’m sitting in the livingroom with our cat, Emmie, curled up in my lap. To most people, this seems perfectly normal. But to those of you who know Emmie, you can’t be anymore surprised than I am.

First of all, Emmie is a daddy’s girl. She lives for the moment when Jim comes home from work. She paces the floor until he sits down and barely does his backside hit the chair til Emmie joins him. She purrs and preens and loves the fact that his lap was made for her and her alone.

When it’s time for bed, Emmie races to the bedroom and sits, impatiently I might add, on the nightstand for Jim to get into bed. Again, before he is all the way laid down, she is climbing on him. He can turn, twist, shift directions, and she will cling to him, content just to be near him.

Secondly, Emmie is neurotic. I’m serious here, the cat is nuts. Always has been in my opinion, but in her later life, it has gotten worse. There is a path worn around our chair where she walks to go to the front door…no direct path for her. Same in the kitchen, around the chairs to the food bowl, not straight across the floor. And fussy…good grief, Lucy has nothing on this cat! She makes these noises…MYICK!…all the time. If you sit on the couch too hard, sneeze or cough, put the food in her bowl too slow, look at her the wrong way. I like to call her Crabby Abby (no offense to the Abbys of the world). If you have ever spent much time at our house, you know, leave Emmie alone! Unless your name is Jim Keepes.

At one time, Emmie’s affections were all mine. You see, 16 years ago, come February, I rescued her. I had pulled into a convenience store, you know a Stop -N-Go or Shop-N-Hop or whatever it was called, and when I entered the store, I heard a cat crying. For a moment, I thought it was inside but once the door closed, I could not longer hear it. I went back outside and once again, heard the plea. It sounded as though it were coming from the trashcan that sat by the door. As I looked inside, I saw movement from the corner of my eye. There she was, stuck between the wall of the store and a cage holding LP tanks. It was so cold that day and had rained the night before. I figured she crawled back there to get out of the weather, but now, she was stuck fast. I tried to reach in and pick her up, but she only cried harder. Finally, I managed to wedge my hand underneath her and push upward. Whatever part of her that was stuck came loose and out she popped. I sat her on the ground and walked back in the store.

As I was paying for my purchases, I mentioned what had happened to the clerk. He looked surprised and said, “I last worked two days ago. I thought I heard a cat out there, but couldn’t ever find one.”

Poor baby…stuck for days with no food or water, in the freezing cold. I went back out to get into my truck and there she sat in the same spot, looking oh, so pitiful. Now, it’s not that I don’t like cats; in fact, just the opposite is true. I love them and have had many cats over the years. But my youngest son is allergic to animals, so I knew that I couldn’t take her home. I got into the truck and had every intention of leaving. But then, above the noise of the engine, came the loudest, most sincere ‘Meow!” you have ever heard. That did it; she was coming home with me!

So you see, I rescued her, I brought her home, she was my cat. Until I did the unforgiveable…I brought home another cat. For eight years, she reigned as queen of our home. No one could pick her up or pet her unless she saw fit to grace you with her presence. Then, one day, I found the boy. Our tom cat, Bucky, became rescue cat number two…and Emmie became Jim’s cat.

Emmie is not shy about voicing her opinion and she did so constantly when the boy came to live with us. Even now, eight years later, nothing would delight her more than to see him leave. But, the queen has become resigned to the fact that he is a permanent fixture and so, she has devoted herself fully to the one who did not betray her!

Emmie is 16 years old. I don’t know how many days she has left with us. I do know that having her sit in my lap, her head resting on my arm as I type this, I am so grateful to all the joy she has brought us through the years. Did you ever wonder why God created animals? Sure, there are some that provide us with food, clothing and other essentials, but what about our beloved pets? Those individual animals that are ours to care for, to nurture and to love. Have you taken the time to thanks God for yours? For all the love and companionship they have given you?

As she lays here sleeping, I realize I tend to fuss more at her than appreciate the joy she has given our family. Thank you God, for Emmie and Bucky and help me be a more appreciative “mom” to them.

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