For her 103rd birthday, Lillian Grant got much more than a surprise bash. She got a furry new friend — just over a year after her beloved cat, Sammy, ᴘᴀssᴇᴅ ᴀᴡᴀʏ, leaving her brokenhearted.
Lillian resides in assisted living housing in St. George, Utah, and they had organised an outdoor barbecue to celebrate her birthday. When Debbie Presland, who is one of the administrators there asked her what would be her ideal birthday present she replied: “A sweet cat like Sammy.”
After hearing this touching wish, Presland was determined to make it come true. She enlisted the help of her brother, Joseph Harradine, who is an animal services officer at St. George Animal Shelter, to find Grant a kitty companion.
The shelter settled on Marley, a 9-year-old cat whose previous owner had to give her up when she moved into an assisted living facility that didn’t allow pets. Her kind and gentle temperament, and love of cuddling, made her a perfect candidate for Lillian’s new pet.
Lillian didn’t have a clue about Marley before she made her appearance. “Lillian was surprised and overjoyed at Marley’s appearance during her birthday lunch,” animal service officer, Joe Harradine, who brought Marley to the party, tells The Dodo. “She instantly took Marley on her lap and they both cuddled each other.”
Lillian just thought that Marley was visiting for her birthday and when she was told that actually, the little cat was coming to live with her, she started crying.
Joe says: “When she was told that Marley wasn’t visiting, but was going to be her cat, she gasped and hugged Marley even more. We could tell a connection between Marley and Lillian was instant. Lillian had a big smile and also shed happy tears over Marley.”
Lillian now calls her new best friend Marley Sammy, after the cat that she misses so much. Marley’s appearance couldn’t be topped. All Lillian wanted to do was hang with her and the pair are already inseparable.