When Zack King was outside, he often worried where his cat Billy gone. Through his door flap, the 1-year-old rescue cat comes and goes as he pleases, exploring the neighborhood.
King told The Dodo, “He’s curious, feisty, and confident.” “He enjoys unwinding, and when he sleeps, he sleeps.” But most of the time, he comes in and out of his cat flap all day, saying hello before going out to play and explore.”
King assumed that Billy mostly kept to himself, sunbathing and chasing mice. But he soon discovered that his sweet pet was living a double life.
One early October day, Billy walked in the house with a folded piece of paper covered in plastic wrap attached to his collar. King and his girlfriend Olga carefully unwrapped the paper and were surprised to see a sweet note written by one of their neighbors.
“When your cat is outside, he likes to come see us,” it said. He’ll sit at the door and meow for permission to enter. It’s actually quite amusing, and we adore him! We don’t understand where he’s coming from. What’s his name, by the way? Billy is his name. From your neighborly friends!
King and Olga were delighted by the unusual communication. “I wouldn’t have thought of doing that myself but was really pleased to receive such a cute note just to let us know that Billy likes to hang with other human friends and is well-liked,” King said.
Olga wrote the neighbors back immediately and attached the note to Billy’s collar. She had no idea who had written the letter or where it’d come from, but she hoped her response would find the right people.
“Ohhhh!” wrote the strange neighbors in response to Billy’s knowledge of where to go. I believe our flatmate (who is now gone) saw his tag during the summer. The name was revealed to me by him! Thank you for your letter. He was so taken aback that he returned straight away to present it! Similar like a carrier pigeon, but more cuter… Here, there are a lot of chin rubs and affection for him! “Have a wonderful evening!”
The two neighbors quickly became pen pals, with Billy acting as the mail carrier. Months later, the neighbors have exchanged about a dozen notes in all.
“We’ve shared TV and Netflix recommendations, podcast suggestions and home cooking ideas,” King said. “We have no idea who or where the neighbor is. We could ask for details but [there’s] no need — it’s nice to have some mystery sometimes.”
Finding a new buddy at a time when making new friends is tough has been a godsend for the couple. They’re also relieved that Billy now has another loving family to look after him while he’s on his excursions.
The letters have been less frequent as winter has arrived and Billy has spent more time inside. When King discovers one hooked to Billy’s collar, though, it’s usually a pleasant surprise.
“It was a genuine thrill since we were in a bit of a funk as the nights became colder and darker and restrictions and lockdowns kept us at home.” According to King. “To tell you the truth, Billy is a delight in any case. This, on the other hand, was unexpected, fascinating, and very welcome!”