Sometimes for true love to be fully realized, it needs a helping hand — or a pair of helping paws.
Just ask Cathleen Cavin and Brian Herrera.
This unlikely romantic tale begins in 2014 when Cavin, then a single mom, decided to welcome a cat into her family. She and her daughter headed to their local animal shelter in Petaluma, California, and instantly fell in love with a pair of identical twin kittens.
Unfortunately, though, they could only accommodate one pet — so they had to make a choice between them.
"We had such a hard time picking one at the shelter because they looked so much alike and we couldn't tell them apart," Cavin tells The Dodo.
That was the happy moment Ozzy entered their lives, but Cavin couldn't help thinking about the kitten left behind.
Flash forward to the summer of 2016.
Cavin's friends had convinced her to try the dating app, Tinder. It wasn't long before she found a match in Brian Herrera, himself a single dad. Despite living in the same area, and sharing many common interests, the two had never met before. Cavin was hesitant at first, but ultimately agreed to a date.
Over dinner, they hit it off immediately and neither wanted the evening to end. So, they headed back to Brian's house — and that's when it all came together.
"We walked out to his back yard and I saw an orange and white cat out of the corner of my eye. I did a double take and walked over to the cat and could NOT believe my eyes," says Cavin. "I knew right away that he was Ozzy's lost brother! I started yelling out, 'That's my cat, that's my cat!' He just thought I was making it up or a crazy cat lady!"
But, quite incredibly, Cavin wasn't entirely wrong.
As it turns out, just four days after Cavin and her daughter adopted Ozzy from the shelter, Herrera had come in and adopted his brother — named Butter.
Neither had any doubt the two were siblings, but shelter records later proved it was true.
"After realizing that we had long lost cat brothers, we were amazed and felt like it was serendipity!" says Cavin. "It was love at first sight when we met and the cats just solidified that we truly belong together!"
From there, Cavin and Herrera's love has only deepened, but they decided to wait for the right time to let Ozzy and Butter know that they had found one another's long lost brother.
Soon, the happy couple plan to move in together — so this week they finally reunite them.
Ozzy and Butter were somewhat tepid around each other at first, as cats tend to be, but they've already become more tolerant of the idea of sharing a house together.
"It will be a process but I have no doubt that the two will start snuggling again soon!" says Cavin.
Only time will tell what lies ahead for Cavin and Herrera, but the road so far has been full of wonderful surprises — thanks in no small part to the tabby cats who connected them in love before they had even met, says Cavin:
"You never know how much animals can change your lives and bring happiness, joy and hope to your home!"