Lockdown Inspires Woman To Finally Inquire After Neighbor’s Cat With Handwritten Sign, Sparking Viral Twitter Exchange

As social distancing becomes the norm amid Covid-19, people are been getting creative about finding new ways to connect with each other. Friends are organizing virtual happy hours. Gyms and clubs are hosting classes online. One woman was even inspired to speak her neighbor.

Of course, this was easier said than done considering that Sian Cosgrove, a 24-year-old living in Leeds, England, wasn’t allowed to leave her apartment. But Sian and her partner were increasingly curious about the beautiful black-and-white-cat living in the apartment block across the street, whom she’d seen every day in the window for the past year.

“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 The BBC. “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.”

Of course, Sian couldn’t just telephone the cat’s owner, who she’d never met, so she did the next best thing. “What is the black and white cat called?” the non-profit worker wrote in a handwritten sign decorated with colorful blue and green markers. She taped the note in the window – and waited to see if the cat’s owners would write back.

The cat’s owners, as it turned out, were similarly eager to converse with their “new” neighbor – even though these cat lovers had lived across the street from each other for a year! “Walter,” they answered with their own handwritten sign. “I didn’t expect to get a response but they were really good sports about it,” Sian said.

Before long, the neighbors were passing the boredom of quarantine by writing signs for each other. “great name, Walter is a handsome boy,” Sian wrote in a follow-up sign. “He says ‘thank you’,” Walter’s parents responded. Their heartwarming exchange — which went viral on Twitter – clearly resonated with people starved for human connection during these challenging times.

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

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J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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