Approximately, there are about 58 million stray cats in America alone. Fortunately, for Oreo, she is no longer a part of this statistics after she found a new place to call home — a nursing home.
Believe it or not, the adorable and totally cute cat pictured above used to be a stray cat. That is, until the time she arrived at the doorsteps of St. Augustine Health Ministries in Cleveland, Ohio. The cat did not only manage to find a warm place to call home, but a new place to work in as well!
“She’s like the family here. She helps the residents, she helps the employees, and we just love her,” Carmen Delgado, a receptionist of the mentioned nursing home, shared her positive thoughts about Oreo.
It seems that everyone feels joy whenever Oreo is around. Most likely because most of the elderly used to have pets, so being around Oreo brings back a lot of good memories.
“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… those feelings of home,”
Even the director of advancement of the nursing home agrees that Oreo’s presence has a positive effect around them.
“I’m always getting pictures, even on the weekends or at night that the staff are taking. ‘Oh look, Oreo is at the reception desk, answering the phone, because it’s after hours’, or ‘she’s sitting on a bench with a resident who’s waiting for her ride.’” Dana Carns shared in an interview.
“The residents were so excited to have Oreo around. They all love her and seek her out for a snuggle,” Dana added.
Due to the positive reception for Oreo, the nursing home decided to keep the charming cat as a part of their family and staff.
According to Dr. Jay P. Granat, a New Jersey based psychotherapist, keeping a pet around elderly can bring multitude benefits to their health.
Animals can help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and increase both social interaction and physical activity.
“Dogs and cats live very much in the present,” Dr. Granat explained. “They don’t worry about tomorrow, which can be a very scary concept for an older person. An animal embodies that sense of here and now, and it tends to rub off on people.”
In addition pets, like Oreo, do not only bring positive effects to ones physical health but improve ones mental health as well. According to Linda Anderson, founder of Angel Animals Network in Minneapolis, “Older pet owners have often told us how incredibly barren and lonely their lives were without their pets’ companionship, even when there were some downsides to owning an active pet, keeping a pet prevents depression and feelings of loneliness.”
If you will think about it, this is a healthy symbiotic relationship. The staff and elderly of the nursing home enjoys the physical and mental health benefits mentioned above. While at the same time, stray cats, like Oreo herself, gets to have a safe and secured place which she can call home.
Hopefully, a time will come that all of the 58 million of stray cats in America, and in the world, will be able to find a new home, one where they will truly be taken care of.
Photos | St. Augustine Health Ministries