Life Without Ernie, 6-5-23

Life without Ernie Joe Mauer began at 10:30 am Saturday June 3, 2023. We’ve had such fun the last few days looking at Barbara and Joyce’s fabulous quilts that I didn’t want to spoil it but now it’s time to share my sad news.

Ernie showed up in my hay shed 15 years ago as an older kitten. I have no idea where he came from but as with all cats who end up here, he became part of our family. He was a polydactyl – a cat with many toes like those Ernest Hemingway raised in Key West so his name became Ernie. My mom loved the Twins baseball player Joe Mauer and since Joe played first base or catcher, he used a big glove – like Ernie’s paw. His name became Ernie Jo Mauer or EJM sometimes.

Rose took this picture of him last week. He quit begging for his canned food in the basement and on Wednesday I took him to the vet because he was so lethargic. Jim, our vet, gave him several shots and we both thought he’d perk up but on Saturday morning I found him in the space between two dog doors crying.

I am not quick to euthanize unless quality of life is threatened but Ernie was too sick to walk and I knew I had to intervene. Remember my post last week about how life can be so hard on the farm? This was very very hard as I held him close while he died.

Here are just a couple of Ernie pictures.

Jenny and Ernie

I left Ernie’s body to be cremated and as I drove out of town I stopped at the cemetery to visit Mom. I told her to be on the lookout for Ernie as he’d be there very soon.

Ernie was such an attraction! Those huge paws were something to behold and everybody wanted to see Ernie. It’s helpful to me to post these pictures because our house feels pretty empty right now. If you’ve said goodbye to a beloved pet you know the feeling. Tears spring to my eyes when I stop to realize he’s gone – Barbara and Joyce’s quilts have been a great distraction for me.

More sadness at the Country Threads farm as now we learn to live life without Ernie Jo Mauer.

191 thoughts on “Life Without Ernie, 6-5-23

  1. Diane in Colorado

    Oh, Mary, I am so sorry!! Yes, for me, saying goodbye to a beloved pet is often harder than saying goodbye to a person. That’s not to say anyone’s life is more or less important, but we get such amazing unconditional love from our pets and that makes goodbyes so hard. I’m sure your house is quiet in strange ways now. Glad your Mom could greet Ernie for you. Sending love ❤️

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Diane – I think the same way – harder than saying goodbye to a person. Thanks for being of the same mindset.

      1. Mary Says Sew!

        I agree! Of course, most of the animals i know are nicer, better people than a lot of the people I know.

        I was pretty sure you had said good-bye to Ernie over the weekend. You didn’t mention him and we knew you were worried about him, but you did hint at something sad.

        What a beautiful cat Ernie was and what a beautiful life you provided him.

        We had polydactyl cats on our farm when I was a kid and if memory serves me correctly, they were orange, like Ernie. Orange cats are the best!

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Mary Says Sew – years ago I wanted an orange cat so badly that with the help of my vet I took my female cat into his office to breed with an orange tomcat who was there to be neutered. Haha! She had 3 orange kittens and one brown. Another time friends brought a tiny orange kitten to me that needed bottle feeding – his name became Orange.

          1. Mary Says Sew!

            Yes, you sure did want an orange cat!

            Wow, what a visit to the vet for that orange tomcat – one last hurrah and then SNIP! And it worked – three times over! Oh, that’s a STORY! Thanks for sharing, especially during this sad time after Ernie’s passing.

  2. Shirley Andersen Smith

    Oh Mary,
    I am soo sorry. He was a very attractive, lovey boy. He also looks a lot like my cat Mercedes, same extra toes and coloring. Mercedes lived to be 21 and has been over the rainbow bridge for a long time. How old was Ernie?
    Ernie was a gem. Darn, sad times on the farm for you. Take care.
    Shirley from Oregon

  3. Arrowhead Gramma

    Such a sad and difficult time. Take care.

  4. Ginger S

    I’m so sorry Mary, Like all of your farm animals…pets actually…he was well loved and will be missed.

  5. Becky Schoonover

    I’m so very sorry to hear about Ernie! I also being an owner of several dogs and cats that have passed over to the Rainbow Bridge, my heart is braking for you. You have lots of great memories of Ernie and try to think about him being happy and whole again with no pain.

  6. Beth T.

    Oh, Mary. I am heartbroken with you. Isn’t it incredible what a difference one cat can make in a household filled with dogs and cats? Their absence is such a black hole, because their presence was a little universe all its own. (I felt that last year, when one of ours was in the hospital. I looked around and thought, “Four other cats. Five dogs. How can I possibly be thinking that this house is so quiet??”).

    Ernie was clearly a very special part of the family. He’s likely catching up with your mom right now. I always like to think about all of the gaps that are getting filled in–those that came before snuggling up with those that came after. Someday, the whole family will be together. That’s how we’ll know it’s heaven.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Beth T – YES! That’s how we’ll know it’s Heaven! What a great statement, Beth – I loved it!

  7. Lynn in Scottsdale, AZ

    So, so sorry about EJM. You have had your share of loss lately. Thank goodness for quilting and sewing to keep our spirits up.

    Hugs and prayers across the miles.

  8. Tanya T. in Houston

    I am so sorry about Ernie Joe! I love that he can get hugs from your mom now.

    I went to help a school librarian friend today. She has three days until retirement and got a dozen big boxes of books on Friday. We unpacked, put stickers on the ones that needed them and shelved the whole bunch. I left home at 7 am! Boy, was I ready for a nap late in the afternoon! I would be a thin woman if I worked that hard every day!

  9. Kathy in western NY

    I hope it helps you to share his wonderfully good life with you but know our hearts are broken too.

  10. Diane in Maryland

    So very sorry. 😪 Ernie was such a beautiful cat and he was a lucky kitty to come to your farm.

  11. Sue in Marion, IN

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ernie. You know when it’s time for a pet to go, but it still hurts. So sorry for your loss.

  12. Angie from Baltimore

    I am so sorry about Ernie Jo. He was so very handsome and quite the charmer just being himself. He will be remembered by all who had met him. May you be comforted by how much he will be missed by others

  13. Linda in Iowa

    Blessings to Ernie Jo! I have loved the stories of him…but I always imagined him a John Deere type of person. I know you will miss him immensely. Cares!

  14. Teresa in Indiana

    Mary, I’m so sorry for your loss. I feel your pain. He was a beautiful cat and will be missed. It hurts so much, but you can’t let him suffer. You did the right thing. Hugs!

  15. Linda in Colorado

    Hugs, Mary! It’s too soon to be going through this again 🙁

  16. Henners

    Mary reading about the passing of Ernie brought a lump in my throat & tests (my typing is blurry😢). I’m sorry EjM is no more your farm cat & is on his way to sit by your moms side or perhaps her lap if he was a lap cat.
    You know your email about EJM brought memories of my two cats who I had to say goodbye to 3 yrs sho last month & this month. It would have been so hard but even harder because of covid I had to hand them both over to vet tech in vet parking lot Ok, now I’m sobbing. 😢 I must sign off

    1. Connie R.

      Henners, Covid was hard in so many ways but, losing your dear cats that way had to be so difficult. I can understand while it still hurts.

  17. Sharon G.

    Mary – So very sorry for your loss. Ernie was a very good-looking boy! You will miss him, but you have lots of memories. Keep them close to your heart.

    Hang in there!

    Sending a hug your way!

    Take care!

  18. Jamie in Phoenix

    Godspeed Ernie. I’m sure you had a huge crowd greeting you at the Rainbow Bridge. R.I.P.

  19. Susan in PA

    I am so sorry Mary. Ernie was a special kitty and you are a special lady.

  20. Montana Kathy

    Oh Mary, how sad. My heart aches for you. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had the same experience, and it never, ever gets easier. Just know that we’re all thinking of you, with love and sorrow.

  21. Diane, Squeak, and Buddy in Central Ohio

    Oh, Mary. I was so hoping those shots would work🥲. I remember when Ernie Joe showed up and how big his paws were. He was a gentle guy who will be missed. It always takes a few weeks to quit looking in their favorite spots, then realizing they are not there. Sooo sorry and so sad. He was a beautiful, big boy.
    No rain yet.

  22. Lorraine

    So sorry for your loss of Ernie. I am sure your heart aches for him. I know the feeling you may have as I have lost 2 pets and for a long time I would come into the house and wait for our little fur baby to come greet me but never happens. Such an empty feeling. I hope time will heal your heart some for the loss.

  23. Joyce Edmeier

    I’m so sorry to hear about your beloved Ernie. Hugs and prayers for you

  24. terri S.

    It is never easy. I’m so sorry for your fur baby Ernie. You give all your animals the best home possible!

  25. Linda

    What awful news…I was so hoping he would get better….I always imagine that when I die all my” sainted ones” will be standing there waiting for me….

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Linda – yes, I’m counting on all of them greeting me!!

  26. Vicki in Seattle

    So sorry, Mary. Ernie was such a loving part of your family for many years.

  27. Ann in Virginia

    Thank you for sharing with us and I am so very sorry for your loss so soon after the other one. Such an unusual and beautiful kitty and you had him for 15 years and I know he is thankful that he found you guys.

    Both of my kitties are 13 years old and are starting to have kidney and arthritis problems. The vet is helping with pain shots. It hurts me to see them hurt.

  28. Pamela Dempsey

    Oh, Mary! I’m so,so sorry about Ernie! Such a handsome boy. Prayers for you, dear friend 😢💔.

  29. Denise TX

    So sorry for this sad news. So so hard to lose our pets.
    It was helpful for you to enjoy and share the lovely quilts with us.
    Take care.

  30. Gayle in Tennessee

    I am so sorry that Ernie is gone. Such a big handsome boy who I know lived his best life with you and Rick. It’s so painful to lose a beloved pet. 💔 God bless.

  31. Vickie

    Miss Mary, life with animals is hard. At some point, always sooner than we think, it’s time for them to move on. But for me it has always seemed so much harder to live without them. I’ve lived with animals all my life and would not want to do otherwise. I’ve lost many animal friends but have been blessed in so many other ways by them. Choosing to have an animal friend euthanized is hard but easier than watching them suffer. I take heart in that. Bless you Miss Mary for loving so many animals, whether they choose you (like Ernie) or you choose them (like Hazel).

  32. Cheryl

    Loosing a floofy cat like Ernie would leave an empty spot after 15 years. He certainly picked the right hayloft and lived a glorious farm life in Iowa. Ernie let you know that it was time. Thoughts and prayers!

  33. Bonnie McKee

    Ernie was such a handsome fellow with wonderful paws. ❤️
    Shedding a few tears for you, Mary, as you grieve for another special family member.
    Bonnie, in Oregon

  34. Jan Hebert

    Thoughts are with you and Rick tonight. I’m so sorry but you did the right thing Mary. He was such a great cat, love the paws! My neighbor adopted two ginger brothers recently, one has double paws like Ernie. Will be fun watching them grow up. Jan in MA

  35. Ms Lochlan Stuart

    I am so sorry about Ernie. He was very handsome and looks like he was a sweet and dear companion. He resembles our cat Gus. Also a sweet boy. I am thinking of you and hoping you always remember Ernie fondly.

  36. Cathy D

    Rest in piece Ernie ❤ Mary, you’ll be like Noah when you go through those pearly gates. Can you envision all the animal you’ve lived with and loved on waiting for you? What a beautiful sight !

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Cathy D – I have thought about that exact thing so often!

  37. Diane in NC

    So sorry for your loss. As a pet owner, I know that a little bit of your heart goes too. May you find comfort as you remember your beloved pet.

  38. Paula in Texas

    What a beautiful tribute to EJM! He was a gorgeous cat and friend.

  39. Patricia E Campbell in AZ

    Oh Mary….
    I’m so sorry. Ernie was a special one. 🥺💔
    May your heart heal knowing he was loved.

  40. Sue In OR

    Oh, Mary…I am so sorry. He was a very special cat. RIP Ernie Jo Mauer. Know that you were loved. Such a nice tribute to him, Mary.

    1. Cynthia in Fort Worth

      Thank you for sharing from your heart Mary. We morn with you – love Cynthia

  41. Jo in Wyoming

    Ernie was a friend to all of us. Mary, it’s ok to cry. We all are shedding a tear.
    Thank you for sharing him with us.

  42. Jean Sherrard-Fifo

    Oh Mary! I’m so very sorry about Ernie. It IS terribly hard to say goodbye but you gave him such wonderful gifts – your love and care and a wonderful home! What a blessed kitty he was.

  43. Lois

    I totally understand. I’ve had many cats and all have been unique and beloved. My current cat Edie is an Egyptian Mau and is asleep on my legs.
    I look forward to meeting your next feline because a new lap furball is the best medicine.

  44. Mary R. in Louisiana

    Mary, so sorry for your loss of Ernie. He was a very handsome cat.

  45. Mary

    I’m SO sorry Mary, I know exactly how you feel! It’s not something you can get over in a snap of your finger, process it in your own time. You will be in my prayers.

  46. Carolyn Boutilier

    Mary, so sorry abut Ernie. I knew you had him a long time. Our Kitty Cat is the same color as Ernie and she is 11 years old. She was a rescue and has been a house cat all her life. At 83 years old we wonder will our fur babies out live us. You gave Ernie a good life and he lived a long happy life because of your kindness.
    Carolyn b Shenandoah Valley Va

  47. Elaine Kopischke-Trejo

    Gynecologist last goodbye is the very hardest. I’m so sorry you had to go through this but having pets is the best and the worst. Take care and remember the good times with him.

  48. Susie Lenz

    So,so sorry for your loss of EJM. He foun d the best place to live when he found your farm!!! He had a good life and you let him head for the rainbow bridge when I it was so necessary. We have said goodbye to many of our cats also-it never gets easier. Sending hugs and 🩷🐾

  49. Jill Klop

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ernie’s loss. When I made the EJM quilt a few years ago, I started to tell my friend about its origins. She’d been a longtime reader…subscribed to the paper newsletter even! She proceeded to tell me all about Ernie! Prayers for you as you start life without him! PS – the quilt is on my bed!

  50. Susan K in Texas

    I’ve had two kitties euthanized and held them both. I cried both times and could barely speak. It was so hard but leaving them to die alone wasn’t right.
    I’m so sorry about EJM. I know it was hard. I know you will miss him. I also know heaven is full of the pets we’ve had to say goodbye to. I can’t imagine heaven without pets.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Susan – I have a small sign that says “if dogs don’t go to heaven, I want to go where they go” – same as cats and other pets. I’ll see Ernie again.

  51. Katie

    RIP Ernie🐱
    Such a sad time when our pets leave US..
    He had a wonderful life by ALL the pics U share
    Katie in Gilbert,Az🌵

  52. Sharon F

    Such a beautiful sweet cat. I know the sad empty feeling of loosing a beloved cat. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  53. Carmen Montmarquet

    What a beautiful boy Ernie was! So very sorry for your loss! It’s the hardest part of owning a pet, we have to love them enough to not let them suffer! He had a wonderful life with you and Rick and in return he left you with many wonderful memories!
    Thanks for taking the time to share those amazing quilts, especially while you were going through this terrible loss!

  54. Robin in Kelso , Washington

    I’m so sorry about Ernie. I love how he got his name. RIP

  55. Carla

    Others have said how sorry they are for your loss and I’ll add my wishes for you to find comfort for your sorrow in the knowledge of how well Ernie was loved by you. I’ve had to say goodbye to so many beloved pets that I was close to just never having more. I’m still not sure what my final choice will be. I’m at 2 cats only right now and the mama kitty is looking very frail. It’s very very hard to say goodbye. Please go love on your other pets. They are fortunate to have you.

  56. Deb in Idaho

    Oh Mary, my heart breaks for you. It’s so hard to say goodbye to a beautiful friend. I firmly believe all dogs and cats go to heaven and we’ll be together someday.

  57. Jan Shaffer

    My granddaughter, Hailey, remembers visiting the farm and still talks about Ernie Jo. She’ll be sad to hear the news. He was such a tolerant good guy.

  58. Mary Dyer

    Mary, my heart goes out to you. I know the price of loving a pet is the pain of goodbye. Ernie was so blessed to find your welcoming home and you were blessed to know his love and those fabulous big paws. He has the perfect resting place.
    Hugs from another Mary

  59. Gayle Shumaker

    It hurts so badly to lose a beloved pet, but they enrich our lives by so much. Ernie was so lucky to have found your farm and you were so lucky to have been chosen by him. Hugs

  60. Chris H. in Washington

    So sorry, Mary. We lost one of our beloved dogs back in September and I still find myself with watery eyes when I think of her. How blessed we were to share life with her for almost 17 years. Sending hugs~

  61. Rosemary W

    So sorry to hear about Ernie Jo Mauer. He was unique! May your heart mend and your memories stay strong.

  62. Paula Nordt

    I cried as I read about Ernie. It is so hard to say goodbye. I have had two cats pass away this year and I still miss them dreadfully even though two more showed up needing a home and love.

  63. Terri Flynn

    I lost my blue merle cocker spaniel a couple of years ago and can relate to the sorrow. My neighbor told me something that really helped. She said when I think of Keela, force my mind to be grateful and thankful for the joy that she brought me and the time that I had with her and chose to rejoice. I smile now when I think of her. Ernie had a great life and he was loved and part of a wonderful and had lots of friends. That’s a good life.
    Thank you for all you do for animals who need a good home and lots of love.

  64. Mary Kannas

    Oh Mary, Ernie was so blessed to have made it to your barn all those years ago. Bless you for taking such wonderful care and giving so much love to the animals that have made their way to you. Loosing them hurts so much but you gave them the best life they could have.

  65. Margaret in North Texas

    So sorry Mary, to learn about Ernie. Time does help with healing and I pray it does for you!

  66. Kris in WI

    Adding my prayers for you to those above. What a loving home Ernie had all these years and a comfort knowing your mother will welcome him home in heaven. Kris

  67. Char

    I’m so very sorry for your loss. Fur babies hold a very special place in our hearts 💕. I’m sure your mom has welcomed him with open arms

  68. Kim from TN

    I’m sorry for the loss of your fur pet, Ernie. Glad you stopped and let your mom know he was on his way.

  69. Linda Cochran

    So sorry for your loss. I have lost several fur babies & you lose a piece of your heart every time.
    Hugs to you

  70. Cyndy

    Mary, my heart breaks for you. I have remembered Ernie Joe for years since I had my polydactyl sisters. I am glad I got to meet and pet him and JB2 when we got the kittens. Sending you lots of very big hugs and much love.

  71. Cindy Yoakum

    Mary I am so sorry to hear of Ernie’s passing. He was such a beautiful cat. And those paws!
    Rest assured he is with your mom, he is no longer in pain as you helped him cross the Rainbow Bridge. All of your pets are very lucky to be in your care. They will all be waiting for you and will say thank you for the excellent care and huge love you have given them. You are a blessing to so many animals.

  72. Jeanie S, Central Illinois

    Oh Mary, I am so sorry to hear about Ernie. He was a beauty and so lucky to have found you. Thanks for reminding us of how he got his name.
    Love and Hugs, 🥰🐾

  73. Dianne in Southern CA

    I’m so sorry Mary. It is very hard to lose someone you love. He had a wonderful life on your farm with you.

  74. Cindy Nelson

    Praying for you to receive a double helping of God’s Grace and Peace.

  75. Sandy

    Hi Mary, so sorry about Ernie, but nice to know you have many friends who care about you and your pets It’s hard to write ,my eyes are watering and l keep making mistakes! Bella sends her love, she is on the bed lying between my legs. Take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  76. Pattie from PA

    It’s so hard to lose a beloved fur baby. No matter how many you have or how often it happens, every one is painful. Peace.

  77. Sharon

    Hi Mary: Every day I walk with a neighbor and we see many animals as we go. One of them is an orange tabby with 6 toes, which I have named Tommy TOES. When we are a few houses away from where he lives, he somehow knows we are coming and runs to meet us. He wants to be greeted and also receive a few Pat’s. We have known him for many years and we miss him when he doesn’t show up. I know you will miss your Ernie…but am glad he is no longer in pain. When I saw his picture, he reminded me of Tommy…just had to share. Stay busy….I enjoy your posts!

  78. Lynette in Orlando

    Mary, I am so sorry. I have tears in my eyes as I write this – my heart knows how you feel. They are so very special to us and become so interwoven into our hearts. Wish I lived closer — I’d share a cup of tea and a hug for you. Xx

  79. Linda

    Saying thank you for giving Ernie Jo a wonderful life just isn’t enough, Ernie told you that everytime you snuggled and heard him purr. You and Ernie knew it was time for him to cross over and he will wait to be reunited with you. I for one pray for that day when I will truly be in “seventh” heaven with my beloved animals. To be with my beautiful big black horse Belle and all my dogs, especially Elliott and Oliver, my other horses, cats and dogs, wow, what a glorious time I will have! And I know you feel the same way. Treasure the memory of sweet Ernie, he knew you loved him and he loved you.

  80. Rita in Iowa

    Mary so for your loss of Ernie. You gave him the best of life on the farm. Being able to wonder the barn and yard and keeping the dogs guessing what was coming. Know you are in our thoughts as you process this loss. Time to work on a quilt.

  81. Helen Jane

    Mary, So sorry for your loss of ErnieJM, a very Special Cat. Our thoughts are with you during this time of sadness.

  82. Janet in WV

    Mary, I’m so sorry about Ernie. He was a special cat, But I do know one thing – the best day of his life was when he showed up at your place and you took him in.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Janet – yes, you’re right – when he showed up here, he hit the lottery! Haha!

  83. Meredith In Cincinnati

    So sorry to hear this sad news. Ernie was a happy kitty who found his forever home with you. Hope you soon find peace that he is happily waiting for you in your mother’s care.

  84. Sandra Goddard

    I am so sorry Mary. I have tears in my eyes for your loss and thinking of the animals pets we’ve lost on our farm. They leave a hole in your heart. Praying for you.

  85. Diana

    I have two cats that are approaching 11 years old each and I dread the day that they are no longer with me. They each have their own personalities and are like children – each one with their own quirks. So sorry for the loss of Ernie. Fur babies are indeed hard to lose. Hugs to you.

  86. Bobby Sutton

    Oh my, I’m so sorry for your loss. I always loved Ernie’s name and he lived up to being just as unique as his name with those huge paws! What a wonderful pet.

  87. susie Q

    wonderful tale of his name and other aspects of his life…….. it will take time to adjust….. thinking of you….. hugs.

  88. Gloria B - iL

    Ernie was a gift from God meant to be shared. That’s why he found his way to you. Rest in peace Ernie.

  89. Susan

    Mary, I’m very sorry for your loss, but I truly believe that Ernie Jo walks with you in spirit.

  90. Jill Norenberg

    Non-pet people can not understand the relationship we have with our pets. I am so very sorry for your loss and pray that time heals all things. Blessings on Ernie Jo and all the joy he brought to you and others.

  91. Rosalie

    Oh Mary, so sad. I brought in 4 feral kittens about 14 years ago and 2 have passed away and the 2 remaining are definitely showing their age. (I do have younger cats also.) I think that it never gets easier to lose our beloved pets. In fact it may get harder as we get older because we don’t want to live without pets but also think how much more time do we have to care for them. I definitely need to start making arrangements for who will care for my pets if I die before they do.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Rosalie – I worry about this very thing every single day! If I died tomorrow this is too much for Rick to handle. If Rick dies first and then I die, what will happen? I have decided that I’d rather have my cats euthanized than be left alone without anyone to provide for them. I know that sounds radical but I’m comfortable with my decision.

  92. Kim

    I’ll miss seeing Ernie here. He’s been a part of the story for as long as I can remember. Sorry for your loss, Mary.

  93. Vicki Ibarra

    I love the picture that Rose took. It is so appropriate for a farm cat enjoying life. What a lovely framed picture it would make! I am sorry for your loss. It is a time of tears and memories.

  94. Ginny

    Ernie will be missed by many! He was a beautiful kitty, he will leave a big hole.
    Yesterday was our wedding anniversary, it was a hard day but Gina, Tim, and all the boys came from Iowa yesterday. Gina cooked, I scrambled to find dishes and everything that has been in storage for so long. What would have been a day filled with tears became a celebration of sorts. God takes care of us, I know Al was watching down smiling.

  95. Glenda Fletcher

    Mary, Sorry about your loss. We know also about pets as we had 3 pomeranians and one cat named
    “Big Foot”. Yes, you guessed it, orange color, longer hair, and LOTS of toes . Couldn’t get him completely
    trained so after a long time we took him to my folks’ farm and he lived in the warm hog house in the winter time. He would ride on my brother’s neck a lot while he was doing chores and other projects. He was a very lovable and a pretty cat. They are all so precious.

  96. Marilyn Miller

    i am sorry for your loss and I know that your heart is hurting with this loss. I’ve know doubt that Ernie Joe Mauer enjoyed his best life on your farm under your care, as with all of your beloved pets. He was one handsome cat for sure. Rest in Peace, Ernie Joe. You were loved.

  97. Kris in Naperville

    Oh Mary! I am so sorry to hear about Ernie…. You both blessed each other beyond measure… I’m sure your Mom is happy to welcome him even as we miss his presence down here. Be kind to your self and keep your tissues close… I know my eyes got leaky when I read your words.

  98. Connie Tesene

    So sorry Mary. Ernie Joe was a great cat- and you are right – he was a great attraction in the quilt shop. Hugs!

  99. Linda in Michigan

    Thinking of you, Mary, Ernie was one of a kind, and he will be greatly missed.

  100. Cathie

    I am so sorry for your loss of Ernie Joe. Each pet is so special and leaves holes in our hearts.
    But the good thing is that we have memories of the love shared. Thoughts are with you.

  101. Virginia

    Condolences on your loss of precious Ernie. It is so difficult when we lose our fur babies. They are so much a part of our lives. Enjoy seeing pictures of him. Hugs and love to you.

  102. Brenda

    I am so sorry. I totally know the feeling. My last dog left me on February 5 this year. Tears as I write this.

  103. Jean

    Nooooooo! Oh Mary I am so sorry that Ernie has had to leave. It just tears at a persons heart strings. He will be waiting at the rainbow bridge when you get there. You will be everyone’s envy when they see what you are surrounded with.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Jean – what a lovely thought! “everyone’s envy when they see what you are surrounded with” – sweet!!!

  104. Patty Holland

    Mary…So sad to hear about EJM. You have had your share of sadness recently with your goat and now this. Life on a farm is full of sadness and joy. When we were first married we lived on a farm and I loved having all the animals, but really, really hated the times we had dealing with a death. Sometimes I wonder why I keep getting another pet, but I guess the good times outweigh the bad.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Patty – another reader said the same thing! We keep getting pets because when one is gone there’s another one who needs us. I would imagine another cat will stroll into the yard one of these days.

  105. Marsha from Kansas

    I am so sorry. I always knew which cats were Ernie Jo Mauer and Colton in your pictures. With those wonderful paws, who else would it be but Ernie! Colton was just a beautiful kitty, too. Crying with you as I will miss the pictures of them. Hope it helps you knowing we are all going to miss him, too.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marsha – you know, it really does help to know that most all of you knew who Ernie was over the years and can understand why I’ll miss him.

  106. Nina

    My sympathy to you and the farm family. So sad for you. It is okay to cry, helps you alot.

    You take such good pictures, so nice of you to share those with us.

    My mother also died in 2012, still miss them don’t we?

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Nina – you know, I think I miss our mom more now than I did years ago.

  107. Holly in Two Harbors

    I am so sorry. It’s always so hard to say goodbye. RIP Ernie.

  108. Patty McDonald in Southern California

    Mary, please accept my condolences on losing Ernie. I cry even when one of my chickens die. It hits my heart to lose any of my critters. We take good care of all our animals and do our best to give them their best life. I know you do the same.
    Your mom and my dad were born in the same year…1919 and passed the same year,,,2012. Dad was born in Congelton England. Served in the British army for 12 years. He was captured at the battle of Dunkirk and held in German prison camps for 4 years. In 1945 my parents married, had two girls in England and immigrated to the U.S. in 1950. I’m their U.S. born child. Dad passed on June 21, 2012. He loved the long days of day light so it was appropriate he died on that date. I can’t forget those I love that includes my pets.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Patty – your family history is so interesting! Did your dad ever talk about the prison camp? I’ll bet it was horrible.

      1. Patty McDonald

        Yes, he did talk a lot about his prison experience. He made 12 disc’s with him talking about that time of his life. So very interesting. I’ve listened and know his stories by heart but now I cry to hear his lovely English accent again. It feels like he’s with me chatting. I’ve read many books on WWII and the closest to the way he explained life was The Nightingale. His brother, Bernard, was also in the British army but with a very different experience. He was in Africa and then sent to Burma. My grandparents were very blessed to have both their sons return safely from the war.

        1. Shirley Andersen Smith

          The Nightengale is a very powerful, wonderful book.
          I will reread thinking of you and all the soldiers.
          Shirley from Oregon

        2. Mary Etherington Post author

          Patty – sorry for incomplete answer! I really did love that book! They were lucky, weren’t they? But think about what they endured before they got back home, sad.

  109. Marian Stever

    Oh Mary, I feel your pain in losing Ernie Jo Mauer. He was a special cat and you loved him so much. I am all choked up because losing pets is so hard. Look forward to more quilts to be a distraction for you and all of us. Thank you for keeping up with the news of the farm. We are praying for rain for our gardens.

  110. Carmen

    So sorry about Ernie. We have lost two of our cats in the last year. It is very hard, but worth the love and joy they provide. Hugs

  111. Margie Braaksma

    I’m so sorry about the loss you feel, I know it well. Ernie was my favorite when I’d come to your shop. He had a beautiful, happy life with you and that’s all we hope for.

  112. MartyCae

    I got to meet Ernie Joe and he was such a handsome fellow. You have my sympathies.

  113. Lynne from NJ

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ernie Joe Mauer. I always enjoyed hearing stories about him and worried when you didn’t mention him for a while. I remember how you wanted to give him to your mother but she declined. He did have the best life living on your farm. He was such a big, handsome boy – so sad that he’s gone.

  114. Gloria Y

    I’m sorry to read that Ernie has died. He was a beautiful cat and looked so much like my cat, Monte. Reading your post makes me sad for you and myself.
    Missing Monte!

  115. Shirley

    So sorry to hear of the loss of Ernie. What a wonderful life you provided for him! Losing a pet is so sad but we have to remember all the love and smiles they gave us.

  116. Amy M

    I hope you find comfort and peace with your pictures and memories of Ernie Jo Mauer. You gave him a wonderful life!

  117. Diane in WI

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ernie. The pictures were wonderful. He was so lucky to live with you. Take care.

  118. Sharon Geiger

    I’m so sorry to hear this. I know that Ernie was well loved because you happened to be his human! Our pets bring so much joy and love. Your memories of him will be happy ones. Hugs!

  119. Sibyl

    My deepest sympathies to you on the loss of Ernie. Losing a beloved pet is one of the hardest things there is, I believe. They give such unrestricted love. Take care.

  120. Scott

    My deepest sympathies to you. It’s NOT easy to losing a beloved pet. He is very fortunate to have a good parents. Hope all good memories may comfort you.

  121. Chris in Alaska

    I cried as I read this 🙁 So sorry for your loss . He’s pain free now .

  122. Lyn Rogers

    I cannot begin to say how badly I feel for you & family. Yes I’ve been there several times through the years. Pleas know a stranger cares.

  123. Sherrill

    Oh NO! I hate that! Brought tears to my eyes and brought my last loss in 2019 to the front of mind. So sorry about Ernie.

  124. Jackie in NY

    Mary I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet Ernie. Sending you hugs.

  125. Debra Reber

    Mary, so sorry about Ernie. It’s so hard to lose our furry family members. Sending you hugs.

  126. Lora

    I am so sorry to hear about Ernie- my heart hurts for you Mary!😢. But what a great life he lived with you!

  127. patti

    mary, so sorry to hear of ernie’s passing. one of the hardest things we do as pet owners is help our pets on their way across the bridge. i’m so sorry you have lost a friend. patti in florida

  128. Christina dickerhoof

    I’m so sorry. We had an amazing cat Jack for 19 years and I know exactly how you feel.

  129. Susan in VA

    Losing a beloved pet is so very hard. My heart goes out to you. You’ll see him out of the corner of your eye from time to time — at least that’s the way it is for me. And, remember he’ll be waiting for you with all of your other beloved pets who have gone on ahead of you. Prayers for comfort ****

  130. Carolyn Howard

    Losing a dear pet is so very hard. My condolences. Your mom was born two years before mine, mine dying in 1995. She was a fun, loving and kind lady. May your days become brighter in the near future.

  131. Carlene R Buck

    I have a cat, too. Bobbin. It is very sad to read your loving words. We do feel your pain. What would we do without our furry friends?

  132. San

    Oh goodness Mary, another loss. Another small piece of the heart missing. I’m so sad with you.

  133. Linda at Texas Quilt Gal

    Mary I am so sorry. I read about Ernie on Rose’s blog and rushed here to read your tender post about him. It is so hard to lose a pet and in some ways it seems harsher than with a human. That sounds awful, but it’s how I feel. I see that Ernie had a great life. I’m selfishly sad they can’t live as long as we do. We have four, and I am already tearing up thinking about losing them. Wishing you peace and love.

  134. Carolyn Knott

    Mary I just read your post and crying with you. I lost a yellow cat just recently because he liked to walk with me and my dog Jude. That was the last time I saw him. He was a an inside/outside cat named Wally. I’ll always wonder what happened to him. Rode through the streets calling him and haven’t seen him. My hope is that someone took him home and love him. The other alternative I don’t want to think about. He was the sweetest cat that adopted me about 6 years ago. I do have 2 other yellow cats and one tuxedo cat. But I miss my Wally.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Carolyn – oh my gosh! That’s worse than losing Ernie! At least I know what happened to him – did you advertise? Nobody has asked about a found yellow cat? I am so sorry! Had he walked with you before?

  135. Beverly in O-H-I-O

    Just read about Ernie’s passing. My heart goes out to you Mary. I feel like you do about my furkids. You truly gave him the best life. He hit the jackpot when he walked into your barn! I’ll keep you in my thoughts. Now I’m gonna go hug my orange Baxter tight.

  136. Sharon

    I am so sorry to hear about Ernie. He looks like a beautiful cat. I know exactly how you feel, as my beautiful Tuxedo cat, Jingles went over the rainbow bridge a few weeks ago. He was about 14 years old and probably the best cat I have ever had. He was a big cat, about 20 pounds and I still expect to see him when I come home as he always met me at the door when he heard my key in the lock. I too, had to have him put down unexpectedly when I was told that he probably wouldn’t make it through the night. I would do anything to get him back.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Sharon – I’m sorry for you, too. Maybe Jingles and Ernie will meet up!

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