Cat reunited with brother through Tinder
When Cathleen Cavin met Brian Herrera on Tinder, she couldn’t help but notice his cat was the spitting image of hers…
(Image: The Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Left: Butter, Right: Ozzie)
After a series of bad dates, it’s safe to say that neither Cathleen Cavin nor Brian Herrera, from California, USA, held hopes of love when they each signed up to Tinder. Cathleen was a single mum to eight-year-old Cali, and Brian was a widowed father to nine-year-old Ruby, when they found each other on the well-known dating app.
Cathleen says: “I’d been single for a few years and had a couple of bad relationships, so I thought I’d try Tinder. I’d been on there for a couple of months and went on three bad dates. At that point, Brian and I had been talking for a few months and we really hit it off.”
The pair went to a local Italian restaurant for their first date and both agree it was love at first sight. Cathleen recalls: “Brian told me he loved me the first night we met. It’s really nice — we’ve both been through hell and back and had some hard times, so this was totally meant to be. We’ve found our soulmates. It was definitely the best date of my life!”
The couple went back to Brian’s house at the end of the evening, and were sitting on his porch in the backyard when Cathleen spotted a ginger and white cat wandering past.
“I just stopped in my tracks and said: ‘That’s my cat!’” she says. “We were really getting along well at this point and he must have thought I was crazy! But I couldn’t let it go. I said: ‘That’s my cat, 100 per cent — or it’s his twin brother!’”
A sceptical Brian went to Cathleen’s house the following day and met her cat Ozzie — and discovered the cats were indeed the spitting image of each other.
Brian says: “After about the third day of dating, we checked our paperwork and realised we both went to the same shelter for our cats. On the paperwork, the descriptions were exactly the same!”
It turned out that the cats were brothers from the same litter, which had been under the care of nearby Petaluma Animal Services. Ozzie had been called Caramel at the shelter, while his brother had retained his rescue name, Butter.
Cathleen adopted Ozzie in 2014, after she promised Cali they would get a kitten when they moved into their new home in Cotati a few miles away. She remembers: “We saw so many kittens but they were all very wild, except these two little ginger kittens. They were so calm and snuggly, and they had their arms around each other. It was so sweet!”
Sadly, Cathleen’s landlord would only allow them to have one cat, so they had to make the gut-wrenching decision of which kitten to take, and which to leave behind in the shelter.
“It absolutely broke my heart that we could only take one of them. We spent an hour playing with the two of them and I couldn’t decide, so I told Cali to choose one of them to take home,” says Cathleen. “We were both crying, but in the end she chose Ozzie, because he was more mellow. It was such a sad moment to leave Butter behind.”
Ozzie was a very well-adjusted cat, but for the first two weeks he kept crying for his brother, so Cathleen and Cali decided to see if Butter was still at the shelter — only to discover he’d been adopted four days after they’d taken Ozzie home.
Unbeknown to Cathleen and Cali, Brian and Ruby had given Butter his forever home. Brian says: “We had noticed that out of the many kittens to choose from, Butter seemed to be the calmest and most content. That is why he stood out from the rest.”
In another twist of fate, the shelter was preparing to take Butter to a different shelter in Los Angeles when Brian came to rehome him. Cathleen adds: “We were so lucky. They might never have been reunited if Brian had gone just a few days later!”
The time eventually came for the couple to reintroduce the brothers to each other.
Brian remembers: “When we first reunited them, I brought Butter over to Ozzie’s house. Butter stayed slightly nervous in his cage on the floor of Cathleen’s house. Ozzie had no fear, but a recognition that it was Butter inside the cage.
“We let Butter out and Ozzie was really friendly. Butter just wanted to find a spot to hunker down in safety, not being familiar of the terrain. There was no hissing or fighting, just one tiny, single growl from Butter. The whole time it was as if they had no real fears of each other — maybe even feeling like they remembered each other? I don’t know!”
Cathleen says: “The difference between the two is that Ozzie is more sensitive but loves the other cats in the neighbourhood — he invites them all to come over to our backyard for a play date — whereas Butter is more reserved and more of a manly cat, perhaps due to living in a male environment with Brian. Maybe he feels he has to be a tough guy? Maybe their personalities would have been switched if Butter had come to live with us!”
The couple, their daughters, and their cats are currently in the process of moving in with each other.
So how can one explain this incredible story? Coincidence, or fate? Brian and Cathleen are sure their meeting was fate, and who could argue with them?
Cathleen says: “I used to be so cynical about love, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Brian is the one.”
Brian adds: “Once I realised that the cats were related, I had a giant sense of knowing that Cathleen and I were meant to be together! This was not by chance or luck, but by fate!”