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103-year-old woman gets sweet birthday surprise

This month, Lillian Grant turned 103 years old, and her one birthday wish was to get a new cat companion. Grant’s kitty, Sammy, passed away more than a year ago and she was left heartbroken. Ridgeview Gardens Assisted Living in Utah, where Grant lives, threw her a surprise birthday bash, and wanted to give her the the furry friend she longed for.

Debbie Presland, the administrator at Ridgeview Gardens, enlisted the help of her brother Joseph Harradine, an animal service officer at St. George Animal Shelter. Together they decided on the purr-fect pet, 9-year-old Marley. Marley was a homeless cat who also had a wish — to find a forever home. During her surprise party, Grant was introduced to Marley and they instantly bonded. Presland told Today, “I actually had tears in my eyes. It was so sweet.”

“They both cuddled each other,” Harradine told the Dodo. When Grant found out Marley wasn’t just visiting but would be her new friend, the two became inseparable. Before giving the sweet animal to Grant, the shelter needed to make sure Marley would have a secure home for the rest of her life. Presland agreed to care for the cat should anything happen to Grant.

"It was a great experience for everyone involved to witness this bond take place," Harradine said. "I don't think there could have been a better match between them both."