Stray cat in Ohio ventures into nursing home and is given a job

One day a stray cat hanging around outside of an Ohio nursing home decided that being an outdoor kitty wasn’t as good as being an indoor kitty. That’s when Oreo, a black and white beauty, decided to venture inside and apply for a job.

Patients once in seclusion now come out to visit Oreo (photo St. Augustine)

“Oreo” is the newest addition to the staff at the St. Augustine Health Ministries in Cleveland. Here she performs duties such as warming up wheelchair seats, sitting behind the reception desk after hours, and comforting residents and staff at the nursing home.

She’s been such a big hit that some of the staff even carry around photos of her to show their friends. And the residents….they’re so happy to have a cat inside the facility. Many of the patients had cats they had to leave behind, and spend a lot of time with Oreo.

Dana Carns, director of advancement, stated in an interview with

“Most of the people we serve here had pets… so to have Oreo here, for them to be able to come out and pet the cat and see how the cat is doing… it brings a lot of laughter, smiles, those feelings of home.”

Residents who once stayed secluded in their rooms now venture out to talk to Oreo. To thank her for her service, the folks at St. Augustine Health Ministries have given Oreo a forever home.

Oreo even greets after hours visitors and staff (photo St. Augustine)

This isn’t the first story of cats comforting nursing home patients in Ohio. Click here for a previous PoC article.


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Stray cat in Ohio ventures into nursing home and is given a job — 4 Comments

  1. I’ve never been really well off financially, and had never wished that I were “rich”…I always knew if people were my friends, it wasn’t because of what I possessed or could give to others $-wise but because of the kind of person I was. Those who are rich may have to wonder about that, whether or not people want to be “friends” only because of what you have and can do for them. I do cat rescue and all too often have been called to “rescue” a cat whose caretaker was being sent to a nursing home and had to give up his/her cat. I remember one woman who had three aged cats and her family would not take them when they came to move her closer to where they lived. They were coming to get her the next day and she was frantic about what would happen to her cats if they were surrendered to the shelter (prognosis generally not good for senior cats). I could not take in 3 more cats, but spent the whole day on the phone calling and calling until I found a rescue that said they would do so if no one else would. I picked the cats up and delivered them to the rescue and the woman was in tears at having to part with them, but so relieved they would be safe. I later was able to contact her and let her know that all three of her cats had found new homes, though not together. In situations like that, I couldn’t help wishing that I did have a lot of money; I had a dream about how nice it would be to create retirement homes/nursing homes where a person’s beloved pets could live with them. Maybe have a sort of farm with cottages for people to live in and room for their pets and also a sort of “petting zoo” with other critters that residents could visit with. So, it always warms my heart to hear such stories as this one about Oreo, who has been made welcome as a valuable resident at a nursing home. Animals can have such a beneficial impact in so many ways. Those who love animals should not have to give up being able to do so just because they become senior citizens who can no longer live alone without assistance. I vividly remember my grandmother, who suffered from Alzheimers and was basically non-communicative to all that went on around her. I was one of the last persons she was able to recognize and used to take a small dog I had to visit her. Even when she no longer recognized me, she would reach out with her hand to touch my Sukoshi. I hope that more and more nursing homes will recognize the positive benefits of having critters in residence, and that there will be many more “Oreo” stories to be shared.

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