Dr. David Dosa is a geriatrician who works on the dementia floor of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence. When he begins working there, he hears stories about Oscar, one of the two cats living on the floor. Nurses and patient families notice that Oscar, who is normally antisocial, somehow knows when one of the residents is about to die and stays by that person’s side until the end. At first Dr. Dosa is skeptical that Oscar can sense that someone’s end is near, but the more stories he hears, the more he wonders if Oscar does have a special ability. So he sets out to talk to the families of residents who have died to find out what they observed about Oscar and how Oscar’s presence provided comfort and companionship.
This is a very touching story about a most unusual cat who helps family members say good bye to loved ones. In learning about Oscar’s gift, the reader is also given insight into the struggles spouses and children go through when their wife, husband or parent progresses through the stages of dementia as well as the compassion of nurses and doctors. Although one would think this would be a depressing book, it surprisingly is not and even has moments of humor. Upon finishing the book, one is left to marvel at the special connection between an ordinary cat and those at the end of life’s journey.
Reviewed by ch, 12/10. Other reviews by ch.