For almost a year, Lillian Grant has grieved the loss of her cat, Sammy. But on her 103rd birthday (that’s right, she’s 103 years old!), Lillian had her spirits lifted when she was given a new cat named Marley.
When Debbie Presland, who works at the assisted living community where Lillian lives in St. George, Utah, asked her what she wanted for her birthday, Lillian told her all she wanted was a cat to replace Sammy.
Presland contacted her brother, Joseph Harradine, who works in St. George as an animal services officer, and together they went in search of the perfect cat for Lillian. The two found a 9-year old tortoiseshell cat named Marley whose previous owner moved into a facility that didn’t allow pets.
At Lillian’s birthday party, Harradine brought out Marley and placed him in Lillians’ arms. The connection between Lillian and Marley was instant, and the centenarian was thrilled once she realized she was going to have a new pet.
“I don’t think she quite understood that she was getting the cat, that it was going to be hers,” Harradine recalls. “Debbie leaned over and said, ‘This is going to be your cat now,’ and Lillian’s eyes kind of squinted and it almost looked like she was crying.”
“She is certainly one very happy lady,” added Presland. “You can tell the cat (Marley) loves his new adopted momma.”
As Lillian’s party continued, Presland took Marley away to get settled into her new home. But Lillian kept saying how she wanted to leave the party and go see Marley.
If Lillian and Marley weren’t a good fit for each other, Presland says they would have tried giving her another cat. However, that doesn’t seem to be a problem, as Lillian and Marley appear to be a perfect match for one another.
“Marley and Lillian both got a gift of love today,” said Presland. “I actually had tears in my eyes. It was so sweet.”