Gigi: A True Story

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
When I was about seven years old, I had a life changing encounter. I received two things that day: the knowledge that animals choose us to be their owners, and a cat. This story is a memoir of as much as I can remember of those crazy six days.
I assure you, however far fetched it may seem, this story is real! Gigi is currently six years old. Her Finding Day is July 25th. This story is her birthday gift!

Submitted: May 20, 2017

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Submitted: May 19, 2017

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The Shape of a Friend

By Olivia Dungan

For Gigi: A companion that has stuck through it all

July 25th, 2010, Hyway G
 

Part 1: Harness Farms

 

 

Highway G never changes. It was the same yesterday, the day before, the day before that, and the day before that one! And quite possibly forever. I was soooo bored.

I turned my gaze out the window of the car, watching the scenery roll by. The sun smiled through the window, I felt its warmth on my skin. The same surrounding fields, the same trees, the same houses, the same boring everything. Today was going to be completely normal. Nothing interesting had happened today, and I was 99.99% sure nothing was going to. It was like there was glue, holding everything in place so it couldn’t change, not even a bit.

My gaze shifted again, to a field. Three Sandhill Cranes were feeding amongst the harvested crops that the field once harbored. Their long necks stretched up to look at the car as we whizzed past.

I looked ahead. We were coming up on the farm. I could already see swirls of black and white, as the cows shuffled around to feed on the hay.

The red sign showed a holstein cow, standing in grass. On the top, white letters curved in a semicircle above the cow. They read Harness Farms.

We had reached the edge of the corn field, when a tiny gray shape hurtled out of the ditch. Then it vanished out of my sight.

“Kitten!” Mom yelled as she hammered on the brakes with her foot.

“Where!” I asked. I didn’t get a reply. I thought I was going to jump out of my seat with excitement!

Then I saw it. It was a tiny gray kitten, no bigger than a chipmunk.




 

Part 2: The Kitten

My heart began to race in as I watched the kitten launch itself from the ditch, onto the road, where it dodged cars as it made its way across.The poor kitten’s tail was straight up as it ran to the other side of the highway. Its paws skittered everywhere as it was confused on which way to go. If I was that size, on a highway, with cars roaring past at like hundred miles an hour, yeah, I’d be scared.

I saw something out of the corner of my eye. An eighteen wheeler was coming closer. The eighteen- wheeler rolled past. It came from the right lane, chugging straight for the kitten. Then, the kitten disappeared underneath it. My whole body filled with dread.Thousands of pounds, rolled over the kitten. snapping every bone in its tiny body.

I thought it was all over. My Mom put her hands over her eyes. I cringed, my stomach churned, but I still looked at the tragic scene. The semi turned onto another street. Revealing the tiny gray kitten. It turned and sprinted for the right ditch. The wheels had straddled the kitten! It didn’t get hit! This was one unkillable kitten, I thought. Relief sprinted up and down my spine. But it was still on this killer highway.

Then the unthinkable happened. It swiveled from its original path, wheeling to face us. It was as if some invisible force field had guided it to us. The kitten ran straight for our car. It’s paws skittering everywhere again. It disappeared from view again. Mom must have thought that it got in the engine.

We heard mewling. My Mom quickly shut off the car and jumped out of it. I heard more scratching and mewling. I craned my neck to see what my Mom was doing. Oh Please don’t be dead! Oh Please don’t be dead, my mind roared. In a few minutes, Mom came back. She was holding the kitten. Her hands were scratched up and blood oozed from some of the wounds.

“OOOh Kitty! It cute!” exclaimed Liam. His chestnut brown eyes went wide at the kitten that was carefully cradled in my Mom’s gentle arms. She was good with cats.

“Meeeewwoolll!” the kitten whimpered as Mom adjusted it in her arms.

“Aww. It’ll be okay little one,” my Mom whispered to it. The kitten’s fur was still spiked. I didn’t think it would relax until it was out of human hands. I looked more closely at the kitten. And what I saw was nothing that I had seen before in a cat.

Now that I could see it better, it was an adorable kitten! It was more pretty than any other cat in any of the stores. It had glossy gray fur, that was as gray as a storm cloud, with highlights of silver. Not to mention a cute silver muzzle and pale green-yellow eyes, that were like Granny Smith apples that had been melted and put into them. It had a tiny white spot on its chest, that was like a star that had been planted in its fur. It even had darker gray, subtle stripes on its tail, that you could only see when the light hit it just right. I could hardly resist grabbing it into my arms and cuddling it.

It stopped mewling. Its eyes looked right into mine, as if to say who are you?

 I instantly loved it.

For about 3 years now, I had asked Mom for a kitten. One that was cute, one that cuddled, one that played, one that loved us back, this could be my lucky day. I hoped it was.

 

Part 3: Stray or Nay

 

Mom never said “Yes” to any of my kitten requests, she only “No. We already have two. Another would be to much work.” It didn’t matter if we were at the pet store, or a house that was just giving kittens away, she always said “no”, plain stinkin “no”.

“I’ll be right back.” said Mom, backing out of the car, with the kitten.

What are you going to do with the cat? Do not let go! Please, I thought vigorously. I wanted this cat so bad! Blocks of worry stacked on top of each other. My stomach was in a tight knot.

She was walking toward a farmer who was out weedeating. I listened carefully to the whole conversation, since the farmer wasn’t but 5 yards away in the yard of the white farm house. As she approached, he turned of his weed eater, and turned to face her with a rather puzzled expression. I couldn’t help but giggle. I loved it when grown ups looked at each other that way. That face they made was hysterical! I guess no ever asked the farmer about cats, based off the way he was staring at Mom.

“Is this your cat?” She asked the farmer.

“Mew” went the kitten.

“No. We got dogs. Cats just run around the farm.” he said in a gruff voice, resting the weed eater on his leg, looking even more uncertain.

“Well, do you want the cat?” she asked, still holding the gray kitten.

“No” said the farmer “You can have it.” He turned on the weed eater and went back to work. The farmer clearly wanted his weed eating done.

Mom walked back to the car, looking down. Once she was inside, she picked up her phone. She tapped her fingers on the screen, then put it to her ear.

“Hi Tom. I’m on Highway G, and we just picked up a, passenger……..pause…….It’s a kitten……….pause…….Well, I couldn’t just leave it on the highway. It would get hit. It almost did already……..pause…….ok……...long pause………There was a farmer out weed eating……...pause……..The farmer didn’t want it, I asked him……pause……….no……pause…………..no I’m not……….pause…………..It’s probably like 4 months old. It’s tiny…………...very long pause…………………...I’ll take it home. Bye.” she hung up.

Take it home! We could keep it!  I thought, feeling excited. This might actually turn out the way I want it to. Like things ever do, I sighed at that last part.

“Well it looks like we’re taking scooby here, home.” Mom piped up finally.

“Its name is Scooby?” I said disgusted. I didn’t want it to be named after a dog. It’s a cat, I thought.

“No, honey, I’m not even sure if we’re keeping it. Dad doesn't want to.” replied Mom. A mountain of disappointment extinguished my flame of excitement.

“Then where will it go? I am NOT letting you take it to shelter! If no one buys it, they will euthanize the poor thing. The kitten’s to sweet! Selling it for money would be like selling a slave. It chose us on the highway. Why else would it have survived the eighteen wheeler, and come for our car. ” I exclaimed. Liam shot me a quizzical look from the seat next to mine. Mom got into her seat. I got the feeling that she did not want to have this pep talk right now.

Mom sighed, turning the car around. “I know. It is sweet. It didn’t even try to bite or scratch me.” she answered, spinning the wheel.

“Then why are your hands bleeding.” I asked

“Blame the wheel well of our car. It was the metal. I had dig inside the wheel to get it out.” she grumbled looking at her bleeding hands.

“See, it didn’t do a thing. I want to keep it. Hokus and Baby Cat don’t play that much anymore.”

“Well Hokus is 12 years old now. His arthritis in his leg makes it too painful to play, play. Baby Cat is very skittish, but she will play with the caterpillar string toy. Plus, you have Glory. I don’t think we need another critter.” Mom finished.

Gory was pretty. I loved looking at her flashy turquoise scales as she swam in her tank, but again, Betta fish don’t play with balls, or cuddle. They’re aquatic. Last time I checked, you can’t pet a fish without harming it.

 

Part 4: Jax

 

We reached the house. Mom put the kitten, which we thought was a boy, in the carrier, so Hokus or Baby Cat wouldn’t attack. She had lifted its tail and tried to tell. But he just kept wriggling.

Hokus didn’t really fight fight, but Baby Cat would. She could be very vicious when she wanted to. Hokus was too much of a lover to do anything bad, except hiss, or maybe growl a little.

“We should call him Jax. He looks like a Jax.” said Mom as she inspected the kitten.

“J-Boy!” I laughed.

“Brurrrawow!” exclaimed Jax. He turned in a circle, with his tail curled up. I stuck my finger through the cage to pet his silver muzzle.

Liam came and carefully stroked Jax’s back through the holes in the side of the carrier. Well, as carefully as a 3 year old little brother can.

Then, the door opened. My Dad stepped through. His face had a confused, but happy expression.

“Hi guys! I heard you encountered a cat here.” He said, his eyes drifted toward the cat carrier, where Jax pricked his ears at my Dad’s new voice. He had never heard it before.

“Hi Daddy!” I ran to give a hug. He put his arms around me.

“Did you name him yet?” Dad asked, trying to see through the bars of the cage.

“Yes. We named him Jax!” I answered, feeling hopeful, but also a little mad. Dad didn’t want keep this cat. I had to convince him.

 

Last night, going to bed was hard. I kept wondering what Jax was doing. What did Hokus and Baby Cat think of the new arrival? I was also worried about Jax’s health. Would he die from shock. I had heard of many cases where animals have died from too much stress and shock. My eyes started to feel heavy.

But before I knew it, sleep crashed over me like a black wave.

“Get up!” yelled Mom. She kissed me on the cheek and ruffled my blonde mop of tangled hair. The only thought that I had was “Jax”. I opened my eyes groggily.

What happened to Jax? Is he alive? What if he isn’t? What if Baby Cat killed him? Did he get sick from stress? What happened to Jax?????????

“What happened to Jax?” I asked really fast. “Is he ok?” The worry was flying like geese in my head.

“He’s just fine.” replied Mom. “Chill out.” She sounded a little annoyed.

I lept out of bed threw on clothes and raced down the stairs to Jax’s kennel. He turned in a circle and went Buuuu Roww! So he was alive. I was a huge worry wart.

“Hi cutie! How are you?” I asked him. He turned on a circle again. I felt relieved. “Hey Mom, can I let Jax out of the carrier? He looks all cooped up in there.” I thought she would say no, because according to her, he’s not our cat.

Mom looked a little worried. “Yes you can, but make sure he doesn’t run off, and Hokus and Baby Cat don’t come near him.” She still looked a little concerned. She knew I was trying so hard to convince her to let me keep Jax. We were having a mental war.

“All right. Thanks!” I said gleefully.

I carefully slid the locking mechanism, and released the door. Jax clambered out as soon as the door was open wide enough for him to get through.

“Welcome to our house Jax!” I said to him.

His cute pale green eyes darted around, taking in the new sights. Part of me wondered if he had even been in a human house. Since he was so young, and raised out in the middle of nowhere, I seriously doubted he had any contact with humans at all, let alone going into one’s house. The only contact may have been seeing humans from a distance.

Jax was a curious cat. I watched him closely, but he didn’t even try to run off. He just wandered around the kitchen, his nose was sniffing wildly. There was also tons of new smells for him to.

After making a lap around the bar, he headed toward the kitchen table. He wound around the legs of it and the chairs that surrounded. Every last thing that he saw, he put his nose against it and smelled it.

“HISSSSSS!” Baby Cat’s tortoiseshell coat was spiked with anger. Her amber eyes were not welcoming to Jax’s presence. She was crouched by the house plant, staring at Jax. Jax recoiled, as if he had eaten something that tasted awful. I could tell he was really afraid to take another step forward.

“Hey Baby C. It’s alright Jax won’t hurt you.” I whispered to her, stroking her dappled fur. With another unhappy look, she walked away. She looked back again and hissed another long unwelcoming hiss, then continued.

Mom sighed. I knew what she was thinking: That cat can’t stay, he’s making the cats we have now very angry.

Jax gave me a helpless look. He looked like a batter that had just struck out without even putting much effort into any of his swings. Jax looked at me again, before he looked out the window at the birds that eating at the bird feeder.

“Oh! You got Jax out of carrier!” Liam exclaimed sitting down beside me. He stroked Jax’s gray pelt and whispered to him. More drool ran down his chin.

That’s when I saw Mom looking strangely at us. I knew she was debating with herself about whether or not to keep Jax again. Sooner or latter, she was gonna make a decision, and I may not like the verdict. Pangs of worry, leaped through my chest.Why can’t we just keep this cat. What could go wrong with having three cats. I will do everything to take care of Jax. Please let me keep him. Please! I thought.

That night at dinner I was going to ask her. I wanted the cat, so I was going to ask her. Mom set my plate down in front of me. I began eating my spaghetti. I waited until Liam, Dad, and Mom had taken a seat, and we had all started eating. Now just to work up the nerve.

I took a deep breath in, and spoke. “Mom. Can...can. Can we keep Jax?” I finally asked, cringing to prepare for bad news.

Mom sighed. Not what I was looking for. I prepared to hear “no”, but she said this: “I don’t know Livvy. We have two cats. I don’t think we need another. But Jax is very sweet and I love him dearly. Uhhhh. I don’t know.”

“But I want my very own kitten. I’ve wanted a kitten for so long! Please. I will do everything to take care of him. That includes keeping him active and fit by playing with him.” I blurted, hoping my anger hadn’t come through.

“Livvy, I know you want a new cat, but we have two cats already. When we lose Hokus or Baby Cat, then maybe. I also know you said you would do everything to take care of Jax, but some of it you aren’t old enough for.

Taking complete care of him would also mean buying all the supplies, and paying the vet bills and cost of neutering, which is A LOT of money,” she said.

“You still haven’t given me an answer. Yes or no to keeping Jax.” I was one the verge of growling. This was when I was getting annoyed.

“I won’t give you an answer to that question tonight. Your Dad and I still have to talk about it. I’m sorry Olivia.” she she said finally.

That was both a little good and a pretty good amount of bad. It means she’s thinking about it. Which means it could be a yes or no. Right now it seemed like 40% yes and 60% no, based on what Mom just said. In other words, not on the road leading to me getting my very own cat.

“Olivia. I agree with Mom, but yet I understand why you want the cat. I think he’s great! But you still have to consider the expense of three cats. Mom and I will discuss it, and come to a decision.” Dad sympathized. So I might have one family member on my side. The man who originally said no.

I put my plate by the kitchen sink, and walked upstairs to my bedroom. I sat on my bed. I wasn’t going to keep Jax there was no way. It was time to accept that reality.

That night I dreamed about getting to keep Jax. We romped around the yard happy to be together. But then Mom stole him and took him to the animal shelter. But by the time I found out where he was, and by the time I got there, he was already given the “put to sleep shot” and was killed. I would always remember that dream, thinking how awful it was. The next few days that was all I thought about.

Three days later, Mom came into my room and began it with this: “Wake up Livvy, we got to move.” she said to me, waking me up. I quickly brushed my teeth, and got dressed. Where are going? And why? 3o minutes later she was rushing us into the car.

“Get in the car everybody.” yelled Mom. She picked up Jax’s carrier. He mewled. I felt bad him. He had a few really rough, and shocking days.

I wondered what we were doing. I hoped it was not the animal shelter.

Mom buckled Liam into his seat. He stuck his finger through the hole in Jax’s carrier. His baby face smiled at the gray kitten. The engine roared to life as Mom turned the keys. We backed out of our driveway, and drove away. I had my arm around Jax the whole time. I so wanted to keep him, but this could be the day that we departed.

 

Part 5: The Vet


 

I jumped out of the car as soon as my Mom threw it in park. I held the door open while Mom carried Jax inside. Butterflies flutter in my chest. Sparks ran up and down my spine. We were at the vet.

I walked inside looking around, taking in the smells of medicine. The lobby smelled like a dentist office, all nice, clean, and well sanitized.

“We’re here Jax. Just don’t be afraid. Only good things are going happen here.” I whispered to him. I hope…. I thought, suddenly a little more nervous. There was still a huge possibility that Jax was going to the shelter. And I was never, ever, going to see him again.

But why were we at the vet?

Put to sleep was what came to my mind.

Mom led us to a couch, tugging on Liam’s arm. They sat down on the one the farthest to the coffee table that was littered with magazines. Mom picked up one. The title read Great Ideas for bird watching, attracting birds to your yard, and bird identification.

 Not surprising. Mom loves birds, I thought.

I sat down on the couches facing the glass bird cage, where gorgeous multi-colored parakeets were flitting around. The small quail at the bottom, pecked happily at her food dish, giving me “the look”. Jax tried to shove his nose inquisitively through the bars of the carrier. His green eyes were wide, and his nose was twitching. This was his first trip to the vet.

“Dana come to the front desk please, Dana come to the front desk please.” The overcom said. We had only been waiting a few minutes.

“C’mon guys.” said Mom as she lifted the carrier and started to the front desk. The butterflies were back in my stomach.

A woman greeted Mom at the desk. She jotted down some notes into a file she had just pulled out of the desk.

“Little Jax has his own personal file now! All his vet records will go in here, including today’s visit.” she handed Mom the file.

Wait. Jax has his own file. She’s acting like Jax is going to come here again. The mostly likely reason that he would come again, would be us keeping him. Could it be?

Before I knew it, the lady at the front desk took us to a room in the back. She opened a door to a small room with a bench.

“The vet will be here soon. You won’t have to wait long.” she said as she closed the door.

She was right. No sooner did we get comfy on the bench, did the vet pop in! She was wearing a darker sky blue uniform, with dirty blonde hair slicked back into a ponytail. She smiled as she came in.

“Hi! How are you Dana?” said the vet to Mom. I had seen this vet before, but she wasn’t our normal one. The butterflies were CRAZY in my stomach, but some excited to.

“I’m just fine!” replied Mom. They shook hands, smiling.

“So your new cat is here for its vaccines? And a check up?” asked the vet.

“Yes, he is.”

“You mean he’s ours?” I asked.

 

Part 6: The Verdict

 

 There was a long pause of silence. Mom didn’t answer me, but I already knew the answer.

I GOT A NEW CAT OF MY VERY OWN!!!!!!!!!” I cheered. I felt the fireworks spark and dance around in my brain! I was sure I was going to die of happiness.

“Dad and I came to a conclusion, barely.” said she sighed.

The vet examined Jax. She checked his coat, she checked his ears, his nose, his mouth, his paws, and finally, lifted his tail.

She made face.“Um…. your Jax is a girl.” said the vet.

“What? It is? It’s too hard tell when they’re so young.” said Mom shaking her head. She looked sorry.

“Awww. I liked the name Jax. It was cute.” I complained.

“You can name her Jackie.” suggested the vet.

No way. That name doesn't fit for nothing. I am not gonna name my new cat Jackie, I thought.

I quickly thought of names. They were flying like bees in my mind. Coming to present themselves with a name I thought of. The more I dismissed the names, the more crowded my head became. How in the world was I ever going to think of a name for this cat with my head full of bees?

“I also think she’s a Russian Blue. Or at least mostly Russian Blue. That’s why she’s so soft. Russian Blue have two coats, a top coat, the layer of fur all cats have, and an undercoat, distinct for only certain breeds.” Said the vet, prodding the gray kitten’s coat.

Well that doesn't help. I won’t name her Russia either. GAHHH! What is the name of the is cat?  


 

Part 7: The Perfect Name

 

Finally, a name popped into my head. I had no idea where it came from, but it was unique, and different and……...adorable. I thought it was cheesy at first, but the more I pondered on it, the more I liked it. It was perfect! It made so much sense as to where she was found. It had to be her name, it just had to be.

“Her name is Gigi!” I said. Silence……….. “She was found on highway G, so her name is Gigi! Makes sense right?!
“I love it!” said Mom.

“Gigi,” I said looking at Gigi, “Gigi is your name!” I grinned at my gorgeous cat. I could have sworn she grinned back at me. Her soft, kind, and loving Granny Smith apple colored eyes met mine as if to thank me for giving her a proper name. I could tell Gigi was happy. A laugh of joy carried all my worries away with it.I finally have my kitten!  I thought. Today is not boring! I am 99.99% sure that the rest of today will be exciting! Along with a lot of other days! I finally have my Gigi!

That cat was, and has always been, a special sort of friend. A sister in spirit. A Gigi.




 

 


 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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