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The Gift Essay

All my life I had always wanted a friend who I could have all to myself. Someone who would always devote all of their attention to me. It wasn’t until my sixth birthday that I found such a friend. I spotted him in a large metal cage in the cat room lying on his back, drooling. He grinned, as only a cat can, exposing his toothless gums and cat food breath to all as he uttered a pathetic “meow”. I was immensely impressed with this orange heap of fur that rubbed against the cage and I neared the fascinating creature in an attempt to make friends.

I was afraid that somehow he would sense my anxiousness about how incredibly marvellous he appeared to be even though he was obviously lacking in traditional cat beauty. Bright green eyes stared into my small blue ones and begged for a touch, just one touch, like a death row inmate wishing for letters from anyone, just anyone to pass the time. My hand neared his head which I soon found out was dirty and oily from being neglected and I gently pressed my fingers between his striped ears.

Purring, he squirmed for more, rubbing his head back and forth against the cage bars and “meowing” when I would stop for even a second. He was unlike the other cats in the cat room that day, a unique face and eyes like a lion, staring me down. The other cats just played blissfully, unaware that I held the key to their freedom. This cat knew, he knew that the people who came in and out of his room everyday were not just there to pet his head in between glances at the other cats with whom he shared his space with. He somehow knew that I was there for a purpose and he wanted to be that purpose.

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I let my eyes wonder to the other cats, young and old, that occupied the other kennels in the cat room but none of them even compared to the old, ragged bundle of joy that I had come across. This orange cat was different, he watched me fixatedly as I sauntered from cage to cage, eyeing up every cat that I touched. I just knew he was the one and that he would be the best birthday present I would ever receive. Money can’t buy friendship, or so they say. Although how else was I to get this creature into my arms if I didn’t buy him first, we couldn’t be friends through a cage.

He seemed to belong on the great plains of Africa stalking Impala with a pride of lions, not trapped between bars in an enclosure so small that it could only have been fit for a mouse. Although I couldn’t give him Africa I could at least give him an area larger then a cage to claim as his own and fifteen pounds could do just that. I immediately raced over to my mother, ecstatic that I had found a friend so perfect in every way that all my other friends had been swept aside in my search for a soul mate.

My mother seeing the smile which broadened across my whole face handed over the money that I needed in order to purchase this lonesome creature. I raced over to the the counter in the main entrance to the shelter without a second thought and quickly shuffled my new found friend into my mother’s car. While driving down the M4 and into London I ordered my mother to drive slowly, careful not to upset my companion who occupied the passenger seat in a sturdy cardboard carrier.

After spending what had seemed like a lot longer than an hour travelling, we finally arrived home and as soon as his box had been opened he peaked out at his new surroundings, sniffing the air, then looking at me as if he was unsure of this new and exciting place. I mixed him up a plate of food in hope of offering a gesture of friendship and placed it on the floor near him. He made a few circles around the plate and several sniffs later he tucked into his first meal at home. I now felt that he was officially part of the family. Sharing our days together is one of my most vivid childhood memories.

With this friend there were no complaints about the world and its problems or arguments about what radio stations to listen to, just complete enjoyment of each others company, the whole purpose for friendship, without a single word. Regrettably, some day all friendships have to come to an end however strong they are. Unfortunately for me our friendship ended exactly five years after it had first begun, on my eleventh birthday. I came home from school one day to find my mother wasn’t there to meet me. I remember thinking that it was incredibly impolite of her to desert me on such a special day.

It wasn’t until she returned home a couple of hours later that I found out she had spent the day at the vets and that my cuddly, fluffy friend had tragically passed away. Sadly I have never been able to find a cat that could replace him. All the other pets that I have looked at over the past four years haven’t even compared to him. Perhaps in the distant future I will be able to find a cat which possesses similar qualities. He may not have been the cutest or the most adorable pet at the animal shelter that day but I certainly couldn’t have chosen a cat more perfect than him.

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