In the last year especially, it’s our cats that have kept some of us sane. Or maybe, for you, it was your dog, but for lots of us, it’s been the cats.
Time and time again it’s been noted that cats have social, emotional, and physical health benefits to offer us and surely that’s a large reason cats are so beloved by cat people. So, where does this discussion about cats come in to play today?
It’s no secret that people these days are more disconnected from one another than ever before. With technology and social media monopolizing the way we spend our time and communicate, it’s no wonder society is so detached.
But recently, one couple in London has found themselves connecting with their neighbors, all because of their curious and cheeky cat, Billy. Thanks to the help of their cat, Billy, Olga Shipunova, 29, and her partner Zack King, 37, became pen pals with one of their neighbors in Hackney.
You see, one night, Billy came home with a note tucked into his collar. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Billy is a cat overflowing with personality. “He is feisty, curious, and independent,” Zack said.
“He’s friendly but affectionate on his own terms.” And it’s no surprise that Billy loves exploring the outdoors.
“He has a cat flap, so he comes and goes as he chooses. He has no timetable – sometimes he will be gone for a whole day or a whole night (he likes to mix things up).”
“The only real trouble he makes is with the local mouse community. However, as he usually brings them back alive, we have humane traps, so we are able to set them free again.”
It all began with one little note attached to Billy’s collar.
Naturally, Olga replied.
Incredibly, the neighbors had been calling Billy by the correct name all along!
The rest was history.
Billy is a natural “postcat.”
The neighbors even started sharing recipe ideas.
The couple adopted Billy from a shelter in 2019.
Before long, the neighbors made a special “mailbag” for Billy to carry.
And the pen pals got more creative with their letters.
Such a handsome mailman!
They even shared photos.
The deliveries continued, despite Billy losing his mailbag.
The neighbors looked out for one another.
Zack says the conversation with the neighbors is still going, but they have no plans to meet in person at this stage.
“To be honest, with modern communication all being online, it’s nice to have some mystery and intrigue,” he said.
“With so many cats likely visiting other homes, maybe others should reach out via cat delivery.” What a wholesome thought!
Here’s how people reacted.
Cat Brings His Humans “Presents” Every Day to Show His Love
Our pets, especially cats, have strange ways of showing affection. Some of them won’t settle for cuddles, purring and hugs, but want to go one step beyond. Gonzo the cat is one of those go-getters.
He just loves spending time outside. His favorite playground is the family’s backyard, and he comes back inside the house whenever he is called.
With time, his family gained enough trust to let him stay outside unsupervised. Gonzo loved this new arrangement so much that he started bringing them “gifts.”
“One time, maybe a few months into letting him roam, he brought home a small stunned, but still alive, bird,” Derek, Gonzo’s dad says. “He brought it straight to the lady of the house (my wife), who saw it and screamed like someone had been murdered. It scared Gonzo (and me, and the neighbors).
We set the bird outside, and it flew off after a minute or two. Gonzo seemed to take that reaction to heart because, from that moment forward, the only thing he’s ever brought home is inanimate objects.”
Gonzo became more creative after the bird incident. Basically, it means that he brought everything that he could find during his adventures.
Of course, this would, almost always, be someone else’s trash, but never mind-it’s the thought that counts.
After some time spent investigating, Gonzo found an abandoned storage area in the vicinity, and it quickly became his favorite place for treasure hunts.
“Most days that he goes outside, he’ll bring us one or two trash gifts at some point,” Derek says. “Some days he doesn’t bring any and some days he brings us a lot.
His current record is nine in one day … He brought us the centerfold from an old Playboy magazine and an old lightbulb in a box from [the storage area].
One time he brought some brand-new plumbing parts still in the plastic from a construction site. I returned those to the workers, who were a little confused when I explained how they came into my possession.”
Gonzo is so creative with his gifts that he made his family wonder about his routes and favorite stops. So, they came up with the idea of strapping him with a small cam.
“My wife and I talked about it and just felt like it would be a good idea to educate ourselves about what he was up to,” Derek says. “Even though he clearly loved being outside, if he had been murdering wildlife or finding himself in dangerous situations or eating weird things, we would have considered making him an indoor-only cat.
I’m a documentary filmmaker by trade, so it was also kind of a natural extension of my day-to-day routine. I searched for cat camera collars online and really only could find one at that time, and I didn’t like the design.
So I ordered a cheap, tiny spy camera and built my own rig by attaching it to a breakaway collar using a plastic 3D doodle pen.”
See the video here:
Gonzo isn’t wearing the camera all the time, his parent wanted to give him some privacy. However, the footage they have is still sufficient to make us love this adventurous cat even more.
“The majority of the footage he gathers is of him sleeping in the bushes,” Derek says. “But on the second day, he brought back footage of his encounter with some baby possums.
When reviewing that for the first time … we watched it very nervously. But then he just hung out with them peacefully. And it was super cute and interesting, and we loved learning that about him.”
The family’s favorite part of the videos is Gonzi’s gift selection process. It’s interesting to see how he chooses them.
But, Derek doesn’t recommend strapping a camera to a cat in general. You have to find a way to secure it safely and in such a manner that it doesn’t impose an obstacle for the cat’s normal movement.
And we wouldn’t put a collar on her because she’s small and if the collar got caught, even if it’s a breakaway, it might not release.
Gonzo’s never snagged his collar on anything in two years, and he’s heavy and strong, so we’re not too worried about that with him. But if enough people try this on enough cats, eventually it’s not going to go well.”
This camera worked out great for Gonzo, though. And we can’t wait to see the footage of his new adventures.