How Our Cat Helped Us Make Friends in Our Apartment Building

I’ve learned a lot about networking from my cat.

As a NYC native, she spent the first part of her life fending for herself on the streets of the Bronx. That’s where she learned one universal truth: If you’re nice to humans, you can make friends.

Today, through her second life in our Upper West Side apartment, she has extended this feline lesson to me and my husband. It’s truly thanks to her that we are friendly with nearly all of the neighbors on our floor.

Here’s why: We take her for hallway walks.

Waiting patiently for the door to open.

Of course these “walks” started off by looking a lot more like “great escapes.” Every time the door buzzer would go off (be it a Seamless order or Amazon delivery), Caprica would ready herself at the door, prepared to squeeze herself through however few inches needed to break free.

Eventually we got tired of chasing after her. So we’d just let her wander around and leave our door slightly ajar, awaiting her return. But one one of these hallways escapades, we heard the unmistakable sound of a neighbor’s door opening. Followed by the sound of gleeful screaming.

That’s right, Caprica made a break for it.

We watched in horror as she raced through the open doorway, skirted past the neighbor, through their entire apartment, and into a back room.

Obviously at this point, I had options:

  1. Stand by and gawk.
  2. Rush after her into a stranger’s apartment.

I chose option two. Then I was in the neighbor’s apartment too. Huh, so that’s what a refurbished kitchen looks like, I mused while trespassing into their second bedroom to retrieve Cappie from the corner where she had stowed herself.

After grabbing her, I apologized profusely to the neighbors. Thankfully they were not horrified but generally amused. We struck up a conversation. They had moved in shortly after we had. They had a young son. In fact, she had just opened a bottle of wine and would I want to stick around? (The cat could stay too.)

I looked at our scrappy little street cat with a bit more respect just then. Well played.

Since that first encounter, Cappie has entered 4–5 different apartments on our floor. She’s attended a shabbat dinner and a holiday party. She’s cuddled up neighbors on countless hallway walks and made regular cameos as a cat-sitter for the little boy across the hall.

On another typical hallway walk with Cappie.

And as for me and my husband? We take her for walks several times a week now. We’ve not only become friendly with our neighbors, but we’ve made a couple of friends too.

Don’t let anyone tell you that cat people don’t like socializing. Our little calico is proof enough that all it takes to break down some of the invisible barriers that exist among neighbors while co-existing is a fluffy friend with a little bit of gumption.

GM @USV, alum of @StackOverflow and @NorthwesternU, board member at @CompSci_High and @NUalumni, co-founder of #BeyondCodingNYC

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