This cat in particular you felt as your former friend was in fact the reincarnation you are sensing. Having a very strong connection is often a sign that there has been a deeper soul connection with the other party and is true for animals as well as people. Love is quite powerful, it is a guiding light, it is a touchstone, and it is often a compelling agenda in life on many levels. The relationship people have with their companion animals is quite special and ranks in equality with a human love partnership in the depth of meaning and contributions to the soul journey. It is your ability to love that governs what happens in your life, whether receiving or giving, and being open, allowing and wanting more, those energies are a major force in determining the course of the lifetime and all that happens.