When Ryan Bentley decided he was going to propose to girlfriend of three years, Emily Beckett, he knew he had to do something that would sweeten the deal enough to ensure a 'Yes.'
And since Beckett, 36, is an animal lover, naturally the only thing that came to mind was to surprise her with a kitten.
"We babysat her mom's cat about a month prior, and I had never had a cat or dog but she was always an animal lover," Bentley, 31, of Fairview, N.C., told GoodMorningAmerica.com. "I just thought it would be a good idea to have something memorable with the proposal that we'd be able to keep and love.
"Plus, I had to make sure she was going to say yes."
Bentley teamed up with Beckett's mom to hunt for the perfect kitten, often sneaking to shelters after work while telling Beckett he was stuck at the office.
"He and my mom were in on this together," said Beckett. "They had been going to some shelters and they ended up finding this little kitten at the local shelter, Brother Wolf. They picked him up and my mom took him home to keep him for a couple days."
On May 18, Bentley took Beckett to dinner at the same restaurant where they had their first date. Once there, Bentley texted Beckett's mom to let her know the coast was clear to drop the kitten off at Beckett's apartment.
"I said, 'Elvis has left the building,'" he joked.
When they finished their romantic dinner, the couple returned home, only for Bentley to disappear upstairs.
"I get home and he goes into the other room and comes back with a kitten in his hands," Beckett explained. "And I'm so surprised I'm like, 'Where did kitten come from?' I'm so excited about this kitten I'm not even paying attention to his collar."
Once she calmed down a bit, Bentley asks, "Did you see his collar? I named him for you."
That's when Beckett realized what was really going on. Her fuzzy feline was much more than a new pet. It was the new beginning to their future together.
"The collar said, 'Emily, Will You Marry Me?' And at this point he's down on his knee," said Beckett.
The playful kitten paid off, and she said, "Yes."
Bentley credits their new little addition, which they've named Amore, for being the reason he wasn't nervous to pop the question.
"I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be," he said. "I had him as my little wing man. He helped calm my nerves. I was only nervous he'd be a little scared, but he got comfortable with us so fast."
The happy couple has not yet set a wedding date.