Cats, separated at Petaluma shelter, reunited when owners start dating

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Until recently, Brian Herrera and Cathleen Cavin just barely missed each other their whole lives.

Born two months apart in separate Bay Area towns, the 44-year-olds’ lives have played out parallel to one another.

They each lived in Fairfax, San Rafael and Petaluma. They went to the same concerts.

And in July 2014, they each adopted an orange-and-white kitten from Petaluma Animal Services — brothers — still without knowing about one another.

That all changed in April 2015, when Cavin and Herrera connected on Tinder, a dating app.

The two talked for a few months, but Cavin wasn’t really interested.

“I didn’t even want to go on a date,” she said. “I was trying to get out of it.”

The two finally met for dinner on June 22, 2016, at Petaluma’s Caffe Giostra.

They talked for hours and, after dinner, continued their evening at Herrera’s house where, out of the corner of Cavin’s eye, she swore she saw an orange-and-white cat.

“I start looking at the cat, and I’m like, ‘That’s my cat. You have my cat,’” she said. “And he’s like, ‘No, that’s my cat.’ So he thought I was some crazy cat lady, and I said, ‘No, I promise you. Come over to my house.’”

The next day, Herrera, a widower with a 9-year-old daughter, did. He couldn’t believe the similarities, either.

They compared adoption paperwork, and sure enough, Ozzie and Butter were brothers.

When Cavin and her daughter Cali Joyce, now 8, first adopted Ozzie, they desperately wanted to bring home the brother, too, but knew their landlord wouldn’t go for it. So Cavin had Cali pick one cat, and, distraught, the three left the shelter.

“So we’re crying as we’re leaving,” Cavin said, “just devastated that we couldn’t take both. They look absolutely identical.”

For the first two weeks they had Ozzie at home, he whimpered.

“Every time Cali would see the kitten upset, she would tell me it was because he was missing his brother,” she said. “I made a really stupid promise. I told my daughter I would look for the cat and try to find his brother. I kept saying, ‘I’m going to find him.’ ”

Cavin called the animal shelter, but the brother, named Butter, had already been adopted.

The whole matter strikes Cavin as “so totally crazy.”

“This is the twin brother I told my daughter I’d been searching for forever,” she said.

Cavin and Herrera have been dating ever since, and plan to move in together March 1.

But it wasn’t until Tuesday that the cats finally reunited.

“We’ve been saying for the past eight months that we’re going to introduce them,” Cavin said. “It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen, honestly.”

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