The cat's meow

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The cat's meow
The cat's meow

One of St. Augustine Health Ministries' most popular employees never had a job interview, or submitted an application — she simply showed up in the parking lot.

Oreo the Cat started hanging out in the Cleveland-based health campus' parking area five years ago, appearing so often that the receptionist began leaving food for her. St. Augustine staff eventually placed a small bed inside the lobby so the black and white stray could stay cozy in winter, and staff ordered a veterinary checkup before allowing her free reign of the lobby as the facility's official welcome cat.

The rest, Director of Advancement Dana Carns says, is history. No previous owner has come looking for a lost pet and that's just fine.

“A couple of residents made the comment that she looks like an Oreo, so we kind of just went with that,” Carns says. “She's like the welcoming committee, she's always by the door or in the lobby.”

Now Oreo spends her days sitting behind the reception desk, or with residents waiting to be picked up. Many residents come down from their room floors just to see the star feline, and staff members have taken to snapping photos of Oreo in cute situations.

“Most of us have had pets at some point in our lives; it's just another element of home to have a pet around,” Carns says. “It takes the attention off what they are going through or what they've had to give up.”