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"I'm going to get a cat."

That's what I told people. But months after accumulating supplies and saving up for my apartment's pet deposit, I still hadn't gotten around to going to the shelter.

My mom finally provided the proper kick in the pants. I was visiting for the holidays and she took me to her local shelter, just to look. Spurred on by the sweet cats there, I returned home and promptly paid that pet deposit.

The following day, I made the hour-long drive to the city (I lived in a tiny rural farming town then) and started looking for the right cat. At the Humane Society, none of the animals seemed right. I looked at the adoption cages at a PetSmart. Nope. I went to another PetSmart, and I was about to leave empty handed again, when another visitor opened one of the cages. The cat inside was hiding in its cube-bed, so I hadn't even gotten a look at it when I walked through. But when the door was opened, a beautiful white-marked tortie popped out. One look was enough for me. When the visitor pushed the cat back inside, I grabbed the first adoption person I could find and said, "That one. I want her!"

She was about 18 months old, and her name was Emily. When we got home, she ate a little food and then proceeded to explore my apartment with the thoroughness of a crime scene investigator. I wanted to let her settle in at her own pace, so I kept my distance. A couple of hours after her arrival, she jumped up on the back of the couch where I was lounging and headbutted my cheek. "So, you'll keep me?" I asked. She made no sound, but as I stroked her, I felt a faint purr vibrating through her rib cage.

Emmy was home.

Rose Ludwig
Colorado Springs, CO

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