chapter  15
6 Pages

Friends: When Are They Necessary?

WithJeffrey Dudgeon

As I start to write this essay on Christmas Eve, I have just buried my older cat Shadow in the back garden, pondering whether or not she was a friend. She was thirteen and had always been a disappointment. I rarely took much notice of her and she tended to avoid me except around the feeding bowl. However, if she went missing for any length of time, I would worry greatly and start searching the house, then the garden, and finally the street. That I think signifies she constituted a friend: a fixture you appreciate but rarely expect much of. In contrast, my other cat, Darcy, is a lover, who hangs around me all the time, like a heat-seeking missile. She is a user, not a friend.