How a centenarian adopted a rescue cat and the tears of joy that followed

This is a beautiful photograph of a 103 year old lady, Lillian Grant, and her nine-year-old rescue cat. They became friends immediately on meeting and have been inseparable ever since.

Lillian and Marley. Photo: Ridgeview Gardens Assisted Living.

About a year ago, Lillian Grant lost her beloved cat Sammy. His passing left her brokenhearted. She was asked by the administrator, Debbie Presland, of the residential care home where she lived what she would like above all else as a present on her 103rd birthday. Her response was a positive and clear “A sweet cat like Sammy”.

Debbie really wanted to make her wish come true and with Lillian’s brother, Joseph, an animal services officer at St George Animal Shelter, they made it happen.

They picked out Marley, a nine-year-old black tortoiseshell, who had been given up by her previous owner because she had to move into an assisted living facility where pets weren’t allowed.

Marley made friends with Lillian immediately. Lillian started cuddling her. She didn’t know that Marley was hers at that time. She just thought she was being given a nice experience on her birthday. When she was told there was a tear in her eye and they have been inseparable ever since.

The rescue center agreed that Lillian could be Marley’s owner on the proviso that Debbie agreed to become the cat’s owner if something happened to Lillian. I think that’s a great gift for a shelter administrator to give. It is certainly going beyond the call of duty.

Debbie said: “Just to see her reaction choked me up.. I actually had tears in my eyes. It was so sweet”. She was so thrilled to have brightened up Lillian’s life with the gift that she really wanted, a gift that will bring her happiness at the age of 103.

Today, 30 April 2018, it is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. It’s obviously a way to raise awareness of the need to adopt from an animal shelter if you are thinking about adopting a cat or dog companion. There are some great cats and dogs at shelters.

Only recently a colleague of mine, Elisa, wrote about a cat, Hercules, at a cat shelter who had such a sad expression on his face. There are lots of sad cats at shelters. They are slightly difficult places for a cat. Too much noise, too many strangers, a strange place, a place to leave to a new and loving home. They are places where cats often die because no one wants them. Please adopt a cat on this day.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

View Comments

  • What a sweet sweet story, and such love!!! Seniors deserve to have loving cats; age shouldn't be a factor providing the cat has a backup home in the event the senior passes. That picture was so special. Thank you for sharing.

  • A beautiful picture with a heartfelt message, "There are lots of sad cats at shelters." This truly says it all on National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day.😢💜💜

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