Ruthie Ann Dwyer's Story
Updated: Feb 26
Ruthie’s story starts with my cat Leo. Leo was my second cat as an adult, and he came into my life when I was right out of college and living in Chicago. He lived to the ripe old age of 17 years old. Leo was one of the lucky ones. He got to grow old, was comfortable until the end, and we got to pick when it was time for him to make a soft landing into his next life. I’m so grateful for the life Leo lived. He thanked me with a gift after his passing that I will forever be thankful to him.
Five days after Leo passed away, I had a very vivid dream. I was running around the apartment saying, “Ruthie, stop, come back, no Ruthie, don’t do that, stop.” Ruthie was a kitten I had never met. She appeared in my dream as though she were already my cat. As I was running after Ruthie, I ran into the bedroom and saw Leo lying on the bed, all comfy next to my current cat Libby. I said to him, “Leo, what are you doing here?”
When I woke up the next morning, I shared my dream with my friend, Kayla. I explained to her that a kitten was in my dream; her name was Ruthie. I described Ruthie’s markings in great detail. She was gray and white with orange patches—she looked like a dilute tortie. Five days after sharing my dream with Kayla, she sent me a photo of a kitten and asked, “Is this the cat from your dreams?” My heart stopped. How is this possible? It was the exact kitten I had been chasing in my dream. I was in complete shock. There was no way, but yet there she was up for adoption the very next day.
Do I try to meet her? How could I not meet her? I was looking at a picture of THE kitten in my dream. I had to meet her. But I had plans with my friend Danielle the next day—could I change them to go to this adoption event? Could I get there in time? What would happen if she were adopted before I could meet her?
I contacted Danielle after receiving the picture of the kitten. I tentatively messaged her asking, “Any chance we could change our plans to meet this kitten from my dream?” Thankfully she was game and didn’t think I was totally crazy. I was so nervous; I was sick to my stomach the night before. Did I need a fourth cat? Would she be gone before I got to meet her? Would she fit into our home? I had to at least meet her.
As Danielle and I drove over to West Seattle, I kept telling Danielle, “I’m not going to adopt this kitten. I just want to meet her.” Danielle was like, “Yeah, right; we will see.”
When we arrived, I showed the kitten’s picture to the staff; there were about 50 kittens. I was borderline frantic, trying to keep it together as I searched for her in this sea of kittens. Is she still there? Then there she was: the kitten from my dream, there in real life. I could touch and pick her up; it was like an out-of-body experience. She was running around being super confident, independent, and bold. As I interacted with the kitten, a guy came by and said, “She is an amazing kitten. She was on my shoulder sucking on my earlobes a few minutes ago. I wanted to adopt her, but my wife picked another cat. Good luck.” My heart skipped a beat. Wow, that was close!
I needed to see how the kitten would interact with other cats. We went into another room off the main room, and I let some other cats out of their kennels. Danielle was freaking as we technically weren’t supposed to do that. “Um, J, are you sure we should be doing this?” Me, “Yeah, it will be fine. I’ll put them back.” There was an older cat there too. I was so impressed by this kitten. She was respectful of the other cats. She took turns while playing, and she was alert and aware of her surroundings. That was all I needed to seal the deal. I was taking her home. It felt like I had electricity running through my body mixed with nerves and excitement.
As I was filling out the paperwork to adopt the kitten, I shared my story with the staff. “I had a dream five days after my cat Leo passed, ten days ago now. A kitten was brought to me by Leo via a dream. In the dream, I was chasing after a kitten that looked exactly like this little kitten. I believe Leo brought this kitten and me together.” As I shared the story, I couldn’t help but get emotional. Gosh, they must think I’m crazy. Thankfully, they replied, “Oh, I believe it. We hear that all the time.” I was stunned. “You do?”
As we loaded the kitten into the car, Danielle said, “Let’s get you home, Ruthie.” I was like, “Ruthie? I can’t name her Ruthie.” Danielle looked at me, “This is the kitten from your dream; you called her Ruthie, her name is Ruthie.”
When we got Ruthie home, she walked out of the carrier and into the litter box, taking a big number two. She was like, “I’m home, and I own the place, haha!” Honestly, from that day on, she was the boss of the house and myself.
I found out that night that she did indeed like to suckle on earlobes. I couldn’t get any sleep; she was suckling on my ears all night. She wouldn’t leave them alone. The next day I fed her a bit more, still no sleep. I finally had to start sleeping with my ears covered as they were scabbing from her suckling.
Ruthie is a handful, a handful I am thankful for and I adore. I believe Leo matched us together. He was looking down and saw this kitten in Yakima, WA, who was sweet, smart, and needed someone who understood and accepted her for who she was. Not a home that would restrict her wild spirit. Ruthie is wicked smart; she needs daily challenges and understanding. She needed a unique home where she was allowed to be herself. Leo wanted me to have a partner who tested me, entertained me, and gave unconditional love. Together, Ruthie and I have enriched each other’s lives. Our strong bond shows when we play clicker games, and in the way Ruthie can read my emotional state. Ruthie has become protective of me through the years, whether testing the boyfriend (now husband whom she loves) and when I became upset over a foster kitten’s health. We speak the same language with an unbreakable connection.
Leo knew what he was doing when he matched Ruthie and me. He gave us both a lifelong gift I will be forever grateful to him for—what a remarkable experience! If I hadn’t lived it, I wouldn’t have believed it.