“It’s so dreary out there!” Leo thought as he sat on his warm windowsill. “The sun is hardly ever out. I thought my family had said it was going to be Easter soon but I must have misheard them because it has been snowing the last few days. There’s nothing exciting to look at.”
The house next door had been empty for some time after a very kind old lady had moved out. Leo had liked to watch the old lady turn on the lights in the evening and make herself comfortable in a cozy armchair. She would always reach under the big lampshade, pick up a magazine and read.
It was calming and sometimes Leo would doze off. By the time he’d wake up again, the blinds would be pulled down and the old lady would be asleep. After she moved out, Leo missed this evening ritual.
Now, something was happening again on this neighboring property. Cars pulled up often and people were constantly flitted in and out.
As a curious cat, Leo peeked around the corner every now and then when his front door was open. After all, he had to know who would be moving into the immediate neighborhood.
“Brrrr…,” Leo said and shook himself. “Enough fresh air for me…”
Leo took time to warm up to strangers, so no one really thought of him as a cuddly cat.
Something nice had to happen before Leo trusted others. He was not easily impressed. He had his family and they were enough for him.
The main thing Leo worried about was whether the new neighbors would bring a yappy competitor. Leo had resolved to keep a close eye on his territory.
When the new people finally moved into the house and he still hadn’t heard any yapping, he relaxed.
Nothing to worry about. He turned his attention back to thinking about what he could do in the near future.
It was smelling more and more like spring and the sun was out more often. Inspired by his family who had undertaken to redesign many things in the garden, the cat roamed through their yard.
“Maybe I could plant a flower bed, too?” he mused. “Meow, what would I plant?”
Leo squinted over at the new neighbors through the hedge, which didn’t yet have any leaves on it. That’s when he saw her.
A beautiful cat was sitting on the terrace, blinking in the sun. It was the last thing Leo was expecting and he couldn’t look away.
“I hope she doesn’t notice me watching her like this,” he thought suddenly. He crept to another part of the hedge, taking care to keep the right distance so as not to be caught.
Then he ran for all he was worth through the open front door, up the stairs to his windowsill, took a deep breath and looked down at the neighbor’s garden.
He didn’t stand out as much up here. He watched the beautiful cat move elegantly through the bushes and then disappear into the house.
Leo couldn’t quite place his feelings. The excitement that suddenly overcame him was new to him. He wondered how he could get her attention. He wanted to be her friend, but he didn’t have much practice meeting new cats.
A thousand things went through his mind.
“This could be so great!” he thought. “Finally, someone who understands me! Nothing against my family, of course, but… it’s different.”
The next morning, he could hardly wait to get outside. The door wasn’t open yet, so he jumped through the cat flap into the garden. It was raining. Still, he crept to the hedge. But he didn’t see the pretty cat anywhere.
“I didn’t dream her up, did I?” he thought gloomily. He shook the wetness from his fur and trotted back inside.
“Leo!” his mom called. “Breakfast!”
But Leo walked past his food bowl with his head hung low.
“What’s wrong with our cat? Is he sick?” asked Leo’s dad.
“Not that I know of. He seemed alright yesterday,” said Leo’s mom.
“It is a little unusual that he went outside this morning. He doesn’t really like getting his paws wet, does he? Maybe he was looking for something. Leo is always surprising us.”
His family observed his strange behavior as Leo repeated the same action each morning.
But since they were very busy, they simply dismissed it as moodiness and figured that the fresh air would do him some good after the long winter.
Leo, for his part, paid very little attention to his family because he still had no real idea how to make contact with his new neighbor.
He knew that she had noticed him because Leo had decided not to hide anymore.
Quite the opposite in fact. He strutted along the hedge. Then he climbed onto a pillar of the garden fence and looked over in a very friendly way. But the cat showed no interest.
“I’m sure she’s shy because the environment is new to her. I wonder what I could do to help her feel more comfortable?” Leo thought.
“People give each other flowers… That gives me an idea!”
He retrieved his rubber mouse and a ball of wool from his bin and placed it on the neighbor’s patio before taking off again.
“Sharing is always a good idea,” he thought to himself.
And indeed, when the new cat saw the ball of wool, she ran after it, enjoying herself. Now she went looking for Leo.
Leo had been waiting for this moment. He went over right away and the two romped through the garden. They ran, meowed, played, and climbed…
Leo’s family, who had almost finished in the garden, looked at each other with a smile.
“So that’s what’s been going on with him!” said Leo’s mom. “Well, nothing surprises me anymore! We haven’t seen him this excited in a long time. By the way, have you met our new neighbors? I didn’t know they had a cat!”
“Oh! I’m afraid the cat isn’t ours,” they heard a voice from the neighbor’s yard. An elderly couple came over and introduced themselves to Leo’s parents.
“Kitty belongs to our daughter who is picking her up tomorrow. I’m sure she’ll stay with us every now and then though.”
“Oh, what a pity,” said Leo’s dad. “We think Leo, our cat, is a bit in love.”
Nearby, Leo was relaxing after his playdate and overheard the human’s conversation. At first he was startled.
But he regained his composure and thought: “Well, being in love is probably overrated. It would have been nice if she had stayed, but she’ll come back. And that’s the main thing.”
“Plus it was a great day!” he continued. “I did a great job making a new friend.”
Quite confident, he went to say goodbye to Kitty.