"I didn't expect to get a response, but they were really good sports about it," said a U.K. woman who admired her neighbor's cat
cat in the window
Credit: Getty

A window-gazing cat inspired an unlikely friendship between neighbors who’ve never met.

On Sunday, Sian Cosgrove of Leeds, England, shared on Twitter the back-and-forth exchange she had with a neighbor via written messages displayed in their windows, as the community follows the U.K.’s lockdown protocols amid the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When Cosgrove became curious about the pet cat she often saw sitting in the window across the way, she made a handwritten poster that read, “What is the black + white cat called?”

“Me and my partner had been calling him Eric because we didn’t know his name, but he was always sat in the window looking majestic,” Cosgrove told BBC News of the feline. “It was annoying me that we didn’t know his name but we see him every day — all day every day now we’re in lockdown — so I asked.”

Added Cosgrove: “I didn’t expect to get a response, but they were really good sports about it.”

The cat’s owners soon wrote back, posting a piece of paper on their window, on which they wrote “Walter.” Cosgrove, keeping the unconventional conversation going, put up another sign that said, “Great name, Walter is a handsome boy.”

Walter’s owners then replied, “He says thank you.”

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“We’ve lived here for nearly a year and never spoken to them, but I figured what have I got to lose?” said Cosgrove. “I was so [surprised] when they posted something back. Feeling part of a community has felt huge for me while we’re in lockdown.”

On Twitter, Cosgrove remarked at the number of cats she’s been able to see while stranded at home.“I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams the sheer number of cats I’ve seen in the last 24hrs and for that I will forever be thankful,” she wrote.

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Since Walter went viral, his owners have created an Instagram account dedicated solely to the coronavirus bright spot. In a post on Monday, Walter’s owners captioned a sleepy photo of the cat with Walter’s tips for surviving life stuck at home.

“After my hectic, high-profile day yesterday, I’m catching up on some quality catnapping on the radiator today,” read the caption, referencing the viral tweets. “As an indoor cat, I know all about being inside all day. So here are a few suggestions for activities while you’re in quarantine.”

The humorous advice included to: “lick plastic bags all over the house, particularly in the middle of the night; try out new places to sit that don’t look like they would be at all comfortable, like laptop keyboards or important paperwork; wake people up at 4am to see what happens.”

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