“[He’s] like a carrier pigeon, but cuter.”
Zack King was always curious about where his cat Billy disappeared when he walked outside. The 1-year-old rescue cat comes and goes via his door flap as he pleases, investigating the area.
“He’s curious, feisty, and self-assured,” King told The Dodo. “He enjoys relaxing, 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 again.”
Billy, King thought, spent much of his time alone, sunning and chasing mice. He quickly realized, however, that his beautiful pet was leading a double life.
Billy arrived into the home one early October day with a folded piece of paper wrapped in plastic wrap attached to his collar. King and his girlfriend Olga gently opened the paper, which revealed a beautiful note written by one of their neighbors.
“Your cat likes to come see us while he’s outside,” it said. He’ll sit at the door and meow for someone to allow him in. It’s actually quite amusing, and we adore him! We’re not sure where he’s coming from. What’s his given name? Billy is his nickname. “Greetings from your pleasant neighbors!”
The unique conversation pleased King and Olga. “I wouldn’t have thought of doing it myself, but I was really thrilled to get such a kind email just to let us know that Billy enjoys hanging out with other human pals and is well-liked,” King added.
Olga instantly responded to the neighbors and fastened the message on Billy’s collar. She had no idea who had written the letter or where it had originated from, but she prayed that her response would reach the appropriate people.
Billy knew just where to go, and the mystery neighbors responded, “Ohhhh! I believe our flatmate (who is now gone) may have seen his tag during the summer. He revealed the name to me! Thank you for your note. He was so taken with it that he returned right away to deliver it! Similar like a carrier pigeon, but cuter… There’s a lot of chin scratching and love for him here! Have a wonderful evening!”
Billy acted as the postal delivery for the two neighbors, who immediately became pen buddies. Months later, the neighbors had exchanged a total of roughly a dozen notes.
“We’ve discussed TV and Netflix choices, podcast recommendations, and home cooking ideas,” added King. “We have no idea who the neighbor is or where he is. We could ask for more information, but there’s no need – it’s wonderful to have some mystery every now and again.”
Finding a new buddy during a time when it is tough to connect with others has been a godsend for the couple. And they’re overjoyed that Billy now has another loving family who pays attention to him while he’s off on his trips.
The letters have grown less frequent as winter has arrived and Billy has begun to spend more time inside. When King discovers one tied to Billy’s collar, it’s usually a pleasant surprise.
“We were in a rut as the nights became colder and darker, and restrictions and lockdowns kept us from home, so it was a genuine thrill.” King said. “To be honest, Billy is a delight in any case.” But this was something unexpected, unusual, and really pleasant!”