Sweet Emmaline

After I finally made the decision to move to Peru, the next question was: What will I do with my sweet Ms. Emmaline? At this point, she had been with me for about nine months and yet I couldn’t bear the thought of parting with her. I began to think about bringing her to Peru with me but was scared by the thought of something happening to her during the trip. After weeks of agonizing discussions and research, I decided that she would indeed survive her extended field trip and I began making plans for her to move with me.

Part of my decision to bring her was influenced by my mom. When my parents were first married, they adopted Amanda, their very first cat. She was a faithful member of our family for over a decade. One of my favorite pictures of my parents is a studio portrait taken at Olan Mills circa 1984, you know one of those portraits with a cheesy idyllic pasture scene for the background.  In front of the pasture are my mom, dad and then Amanda sitting on my mom’s lap. Really, mom? A cat in a photo studio?

Emmaline is more like a cat-dog. She plays fetch, comes when you call her, wants to eat everything I am eating and follows me like a shadow. The disinterested cat stereotype doesn't fit her at all.

Since arriving in Peru, she has charmed Alvaro’s entire family. He has never had a pet, neither have any of his close relatives. Several months ago, his Aunt Carmen said she wanted to buy Emmaline some food. I told her what brand and flavor and the next day, I was given two bags of food. She asked me how long each bag would last and I said about three weeks. Five weeks later she asked, “Does Emmaline have food? Because by my calculation, she is almost out of food.” The very next day, she bought her two new bags.

Two weeks ago, his Aunts offered to buy Emmaline a cat bed. When Alvaro and I went to pick it up, they gave us not only a cat bed but also two different toys, catnip spray and a glove for grooming. She is the talk of every family dinner and Alvaro’s mom finally agreed to letting her come visit his house. The only condition is that she must stay only on the tiled floor.