The neighbour in question is an elderly lady, eightly years old and widowed almost fifteen years ago. She rarely leaves the vicinity and her life is a quiet one. I smile whenever I see her approach because never very far away is her little cat.
It was the cat that adopted her rather than the other way around, a couple of years back. It turned up out of the blue one day and sat on her doorstep. The old lady at first thought it was one of mine, I have a few after all. I told her I'd never seen the cat before but would be happy to take care of it, but this little cat had already decided who her owner should be. She followed the old lady (who'd never had a cat before) around from day one, into the garden, up the lane, everywhere! Initially the old lady was bemused. She didn't know what to make of her new friend who'd attached itself to her like a shadow, but bit by bit she began to soften and one day a food bowl appeared on her front porch full of cat biscuits...and then a little cat bed.
Now the two of them are always seen together, today being no exception, and they make me smile every time. It was as though that little cat knew that the old lady was lonely, that she needed a companion, and she was the one who would help her. Just like my neighbour, we don't always know what it is we're missing until it finds us and I think that that little cat might just have changed an old lady's life.
Catherine Walker is the author of The True Story of a Not So Crazy Cat lady available now in paperback and eBook.