Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat Info

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A remarkable cat. A special gift. A life-changing
journey.

They thought he was just a cat.

When Oscar
arrived at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode
Island he was a cute little guy with attitude. He loved to stretch out
in a puddle of sunlight and chase his tail until he was dizzy.
Occasionally he consented to a scratch behind the ears, but only when it
suited him. In other words, he was a typical cat. Or so it seemed. It
wasn't long before Oscar had created something of a stir.


Apparently, this ordinary cat possesses an extraordinary gift: he
knows instinctively when the end of life is near.

Oscar is a
welcome distraction for the residents of Steere House, many of whom are
living with Alzheimer's. But he never spends much time with them--until
they are in their last hours. Then, as if this were his job, Oscar
strides purposely into a patient's room, curls up on the bed, and begins
his vigil. Oscar provides comfort and companionship when people need
him most. And his presence lets caregivers and loved ones know that it's
time to say good-bye.

Oscar's gift is a tender mercy. He
teaches by example: embracing moments of life that so many of us shy
away from.

Making Rounds with Oscar is the story of an
unusual cat, the patients he serves, their caregivers, and of one doctor
who learned how to listen. Heartfelt, inspiring, and full of humor and
pathos, this book allows readers to take a walk into a world rarely seen
from the outside, a world we often misunderstand.

Praise for
Making Rounds With Oscar

"I love this book -- Oscar
has much to teach us about empathy and courage. I couldn't put it down."

-Sarah Gruen, author of Water for Elephants

"At its
heart, Dosa's search is more about how people cope with death than
Oscar's purported ability to predict it."
-The Associated
Press

"Beautifully written, heartwarming [...] Told with
profound insight and great respect for all involved, this is more than
just a cat story (although it will appeal to fans of Vicki Myron's
Dewey)."
-Library Journal

"You'll be moved."

-People


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat:

3

Dec 21, 2014

This isn't a review, it's a resolution:

I WILL finish this book
I DID finish this book.

It was hard going.

I'm such a cat person I couldn't resist the title, but in fact the book isn't about a cat at all. The title is just a hook to get cat lovers like me to part with $$$ hoping we might understand something more about the totally mysterious thought processes of a cat.

What the book is about is Dr Dosa who isn't very interesting. He's married with kids and has non-disabling arthritis. He's very This isn't a review, it's a resolution:

I WILL finish this book
I DID finish this book.

It was hard going.

I'm such a cat person I couldn't resist the title, but in fact the book isn't about a cat at all. The title is just a hook to get cat lovers like me to part with $$$ hoping we might understand something more about the totally mysterious thought processes of a cat.

What the book is about is Dr Dosa who isn't very interesting. He's married with kids and has non-disabling arthritis. He's very ordinary but nice, I'd like him for my GP. The book is really about his job which is treating Alzheimers' patients in a nursing home. The cat, not a friendly creature, knows when people are dying and goes to sit with them. We don't know any more about Oscar and anyway the book isn't about him and an investigation into how Oscar gains this knowledge that beats even medical technology's ability to predict death.

The book might have been a lot more interesting if I hadn't just finished Atul Gawande's Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End which is about the options for end-care mostly in old people and especially Alzheimers and explains, among other things, how the model of the nursing home with cats (and dogs and birds) that is where Dr Dosa and Oscar came to be. Atul Gawande is a wonderful writer, David Dosa just writes serviceable prose and then again Gawande is a more interesting person and goes into his subject very thoroughly leaving you much to think over and regretting the book is so short. It's always the same with Gawande's books, you want more. It's rather the opposite for Dosa's "Making Rounds with Oscar", less would have been greatly appreciated.

I WILL finish this book ...more
2

Sep 27, 2010

It seems I am in the minority here, but I thought this book was just okay. It was billed as a story about a cat's ability to sense when dementia patients in a nursing home were approaching death and his dedication to remaining with them during their final hours. The real focus of the book, however, was on Dr. Dosa's experience treating his patients with dementia. That subject is certainly important and interesting, but the approach of revealing almost the entire story through dialogue between It seems I am in the minority here, but I thought this book was just okay. It was billed as a story about a cat's ability to sense when dementia patients in a nursing home were approaching death and his dedication to remaining with them during their final hours. The real focus of the book, however, was on Dr. Dosa's experience treating his patients with dementia. That subject is certainly important and interesting, but the approach of revealing almost the entire story through dialogue between himself and the nursing staff and/or family members of the patients (most of which seemed stilted and manufactured) wore thin after a while. He brought up some serious issues in his own life, including a chronic health condition, but then left them as loose ends, making me wonder why he brought them up in the first place. [return][return]Dr. Dosa started the book by admitting that he is not a cat person, but that he wanted to understand more about how Oscar knew to do what he did. Aside from that initial curiosity, there was no real understanding of why he was so interested, nor any major conclusions revealed through his experience. Although technically a dog person, I love all animals, and anyone who spends any amount of time with them would not be at all surprised by Oscar's gift. I wish the book had focused more specifically on the patients' families perspectives on Oscar rather than the doctor's.[return][return]Finally, the book went on for too long. The story was initially published in a medical journal. The story would have been better served by taking that essay, putting it into lay terms and publishing it as a magazine article.[return][return]Nonetheless, I learned quite a bit about the disease of dementia, and the book was an easy and quick read. Not great, but not horrible. ...more
4

Apr 21, 2018

This is a really touching story of Oscar, a cat who lives on the dementia floor of a nursing home called Steare House. When he senses a person is dying, he jumps on their bed and settles down to keep vigil until the undertakers collect the body. David Dosa, a physician who cared for patients in the nursing home, didn't believe that Oscar could know when someone was dying but at the suggestion of Mary the manager, he interviewed a number of families whose relative had died in the nursing home and This is a really touching story of Oscar, a cat who lives on the dementia floor of a nursing home called Steare House. When he senses a person is dying, he jumps on their bed and settles down to keep vigil until the undertakers collect the body. David Dosa, a physician who cared for patients in the nursing home, didn't believe that Oscar could know when someone was dying but at the suggestion of Mary the manager, he interviewed a number of families whose relative had died in the nursing home and got a remarkably consistent story and it is these stories that are told here.

When a patient was failing Oscar would often come into the room, look at the patient, sniff the air and either leave or if he sensed the patient would die soon, settle down on their bed. He started doing this while still a kitten and was never wrong. Patients loved living in a nursing home where there were two cats on each floor to come and visit them and be petted. It made them feel more at home, particularly if they were animal lovers and may have left pets at home. Many relatives remarked that they felt comforted that Oscar was keeping vigil with them during their loved one's last hours. For many they knew it was time to accept that this was the end and to call in their family members.

What a beautiful cat and what a wonderful nursing home to allow animals. It sounds like a very special place where the staff truly care about their patients and helping them achieve a peaceful death. ...more
4

Dec 23, 2011

This is a heartwarming tale about aging, life, death and letting go. It's also about the love we give and receive from the animals in our lives. This book details the amazing ability of one particular cat, named Oscar, in a New England nursing home who is able to determine when one of the residents is about to die. He chooses to stand watch over these people until they die, comforting the families who come visit and spend the last moments with loved ones. He acts as a calming force, a sentry This is a heartwarming tale about aging, life, death and letting go. It's also about the love we give and receive from the animals in our lives. This book details the amazing ability of one particular cat, named Oscar, in a New England nursing home who is able to determine when one of the residents is about to die. He chooses to stand watch over these people until they die, comforting the families who come visit and spend the last moments with loved ones. He acts as a calming force, a sentry against the fear of dying and losing those we love.

The story is short, but is filled with anecdotes of Oscar's presence at the final moments of many of the residents at Steere House's third floor. The doctor who wrote the book was skeptical at first, but came to believe in the cat's ability to sense those who needed him most. Overall, it's a tale that is not only an interesting read, but is also a kind of primer of what to expect and what help is available to caregivers of people with dementia. I like that Dr. Dosa offers advice and the perspective of someone who has seen many people live with and eventually die from the affects of dementia, but he is not judgmental about the time it takes for people to accept the fate of those with this terrible disease.

This book was selected by my local library's book club as its May 2012 read. I really enjoyed reading it and realize that more and more I truly am a "cat person" and a sucker for a good cat story.

interesting quotes:

"Coincidence is God's way of remaining anonymous." [attributed to [author:Albert Einstein|9810] from his book The World as I See It] (p. 17)

"With Oscar at my side...well, I felt a little less alone. It's hard to explain, but some animals, well, the sense they give you is that they understand what's going on. More than that, they just accept. I don't know, but Oscar gave me a feeling that this is all natural. And it is, isn't it? If birth is a miracle, isn't death a miracle, too?" (p. 27)

"But I've learned over the years that explanations only make things worse. Simple apologies work better." (p. 31)

"A dog comes when you call and a cat takes a message and gets back to you." (p. 66)

"Dogs have owners. Cats have staff." (p. 129)

"I wasn't surprised by her response. I was a traveling salesman pitching an unpopular product: the reality check." (p. 158)

"And by the way, at the end of my days, I prefer the cat over the ICU." (p. 225) ...more
5

Sep 19, 2012

I absolutely adore this book! Watching my own mother pass away from cancer and seeing how her dog interacted with her I believe that Oscar has that special gift too...the gift to comfort someone in the darkest of times. We all must die alone but with an animal lying by your side, purring or just snuggling I truly believe it brings comfort not only to the person who is passing on but those who are there with them. This is a beautiful book, simply written. The author starts off not believing that I absolutely adore this book! Watching my own mother pass away from cancer and seeing how her dog interacted with her I believe that Oscar has that special gift too...the gift to comfort someone in the darkest of times. We all must die alone but with an animal lying by your side, purring or just snuggling I truly believe it brings comfort not only to the person who is passing on but those who are there with them. This is a beautiful book, simply written. The author starts off not believing that a cat could be capable of showing this kind of knowledge or empathy and by researching he finds it to be true. This book gives me hope and less fear of death since I have 4 pets. I KNOW they will be there for me at the end of my life as they are for me now. ...more
3

May 10, 2010

As a book about a cat, it was disappointing.
As a book about dementia, it was a success.
5

Sep 21, 2019

I started reading this about one pm when my husband carried it home from the library for me and just finished it. I was unable to put it down. It is an amazing story about an unusual cat. He lives in a unit for those with dementia and helps when someone is dying. He knows when someone is going to die! It is believed that he may smell ketones. I did cry a good bit while reading.
4

Dec 29, 2011

I had to travel for work last week. I finished the book I brought with me for the trip out. And because of the “no electronics during take-off and landing” rule, I needed another book to keep me occupied on the return trip until I could read on the iPad (or, in this instance, re-watch the season finale of Sons of Anarchy). Anyway, I was in a really small airport that had a really small selection of books. The only one that really caught my eye was Making Rounds With Oscar.

Dr. David Dosa works I had to travel for work last week. I finished the book I brought with me for the trip out. And because of the “no electronics during take-off and landing” rule, I needed another book to keep me occupied on the return trip until I could read on the iPad (or, in this instance, re-watch the season finale of Sons of Anarchy). Anyway, I was in a really small airport that had a really small selection of books. The only one that really caught my eye was Making Rounds With Oscar.

Dr. David Dosa works with dementia patients and their families at a nursing home called Steere House in Rhode Island. Steere House is also home to Oscar and several other cats. While all the cats interact with the staff and patients, Oscar seems to know when a patient is going to die. Normally standoffish, Oscar makes a point of waiting, curled up next to a patient, in their final hours. He doesn’t leave until the patient has passed.

SPOILER ALERT: I only do this with books about animals, but before I bought the book, I flipped through the last few pages to make sure we were still talking about Oscar in the present tense. I cannot read books where the animals die, so I know it is a spoiler, but it’s one I’m OK sharing. SPOILER OVER

A scientist, Dr. Dosa was admittedly skeptical of Oscar’s ability to sense death. But he began interviewing the families of former patients about their experience with Oscar. And while he learned that Oscar provides a great sense of comfort to the families (and staff) during their loved one’s final hours, he also gained a greater understanding on the impact of dementia (which includes but is not synonymous with Alzheimer’s) on the patient and their families.

I enjoyed the book because as a pet owner I’m firmly convinced that animals can sense our moods and provide comfort and companionship when we need it most. But at the same time, I call the experience of reading the book bittersweet. My family has a history of Alzheimer’s, and those personal experiences (and fears that come from that place deep down inside that make me wonder if one day, I too, will suffer from it) brought a special poignancy and touch of melancholy to the story.

Still, it is a story of companionship and love in the sense of Oscar being a part of a patient’s final hours and in the stories of love from the patient’s families. It is overall heartwarming and comforting, and one I would recommend. ...more
1

Sep 10, 2010

If this book had been called "My Life with Dementia Patients (and oh yeah, there's a cat)", I'd have given it four stars. I also would NOT have bought it. I was fascinated with Oscar when I read his story online several years ago. I bought this book because I wanted to know more about THE CAT. Not about Doctor Dosa or the lives of his patients. Everything about the outside of the book points to it being ABOUT the cat, not being about the doctor who doesn't even like cats and makes no attempt to If this book had been called "My Life with Dementia Patients (and oh yeah, there's a cat)", I'd have given it four stars. I also would NOT have bought it. I was fascinated with Oscar when I read his story online several years ago. I bought this book because I wanted to know more about THE CAT. Not about Doctor Dosa or the lives of his patients. Everything about the outside of the book points to it being ABOUT the cat, not being about the doctor who doesn't even like cats and makes no attempt to get to know the species or this member of it. This is about Dosa's health, or his family, or the interminable stories about people and then the "and oh yeah Oscar was there when they died and it was great." Seriously, the book gives Oscar maybe 10% of the real estate. The book opens with Dosa bemoaning not getting a grant--well, he's raking cash in with this book. Hope he's happy. If you were dissatisfied with Dewey the Library Cat for its meandering off the subject of Dewey, you'll hate this. ...more
5

May 04, 2011

Oscar the cat ignores most of the patients at the nursing home where he lives until they are dying. Without fail, he shows up within 24 hours before a patient dies and stands watch until they are gone. He brings comfort to the patients and their families as they pass to the next life.

This is a true story, written by a doctor at the nursing home. Dr. Dosa was initially skeptical about Oscar's ability, but once he became convinced, he decided to interview the families that Oscar had comforted as Oscar the cat ignores most of the patients at the nursing home where he lives until they are dying. Without fail, he shows up within 24 hours before a patient dies and stands watch until they are gone. He brings comfort to the patients and their families as they pass to the next life.

This is a true story, written by a doctor at the nursing home. Dr. Dosa was initially skeptical about Oscar's ability, but once he became convinced, he decided to interview the families that Oscar had comforted as they lost a loved one. This book is primarily about the stories behind the patients in the dementia/Alzheimer's units and how their family members dealt with losing a parent or spouse to dementia. I learned a lot about dementia.

Bonus points for:

*weaving his own story into the book -- Dr. Dosa has some chronic health problems and his mother-in-law was diagnosed with dementia while he was working on the book.

*Including some tips for caregivers of a patient that has been diagnosed with dementia at the end of the book.

Rated PG for mature themes (death and dying), but this is a very clean read. ...more
5

Nov 24, 2012

Where to start? This non-fiction book took me over. It is mesmerizing. Making Rounds with Oscar is about a marvelous cat, one of three, on the third floor of a Rhode Island nursing home. Oscar is special. He senses when death is imminent, and that is a gift that sets the staff talking and prompts the facility’s doctor David Sosa, M.D., the author, on a quest to understand what makes Oscar purr, er, tick.

More importantly, this book is about dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, which Where to start? This non-fiction book took me over. It is mesmerizing. Making Rounds with Oscar is about a marvelous cat, one of three, on the third floor of a Rhode Island nursing home. Oscar is special. He senses when death is imminent, and that is a gift that sets the staff talking and prompts the facility’s doctor David Sosa, M.D., the author, on a quest to understand what makes Oscar purr, er, tick.

More importantly, this book is about dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease, which affects some 5 million people in the United States and likely will affect more as the Baby Boomer generation, including me, continues to age. It is about Oscar, whose paws walk us down the halls of how this horrible disease steals the memories of its sufferers and leaves spouses and other family members dumbfounded, angry and lost. It is about Oscar, a gentle soul, who brings amazing comfort to both the dying and the living merely by his timely presence.

There is one couple, in particular, whose story winds through most of the book. The husband is totally dedicated, sometimes to the point of overwhelming obsession, to his wife and her spiraling downhill plight. Their story comes to a head in Chapter 20 and ends two chapters later. Chapter 20 left me totally teared and overwhelmingly stunned. This couple’s story is told amid a heart-breaking incident. I had to take an hour’s break before I could return to read the book’s final two chapters.

I had to get up, go find my wife and talk to her about what I had read. My wife had started the book a couple weeks earlier but had to put it down. Her mom died of complications of Alzheimer’s; we had watched the symptoms emerge and urged testing, which confirmed our worst suspicions. Those memories still too close to the surface forced my wife, a nurse, to turn away from traveling Oscar’s road, for now.

Making Rounds with Oscar is tough to read, but should be mandatory for young people and, especially, anyone with parents who are aging. Once you finish reading the 23-chapter book, don’t stop. Read the Afterward. It is a guide to dealing with dementia. It is short and offers five excellent suggestions about love, acceptance and letting go.

More than anything, this book should spark family discussions about end of life care, especially if dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s, becomes part of your world.

Making Rounds with Oscar is simply one of the best short books (222 pages counting the Afterword) that I have ever read. ...more
4

Mar 13, 2015

I heard about this cat a few years back. So when the opportunity came to read a book about him, I was curious to say the least. To my surprise this is not really a book about Oscar, the cat. He has more of a supporting actor role in this book. It's more about a doctor's experience with his dementia patients and their families. The doctor finds he trusts this cat and he learns to be guided by the cat because Oscar has the ability to sense when a patient is about to die. Oscar goes and curls up I heard about this cat a few years back. So when the opportunity came to read a book about him, I was curious to say the least. To my surprise this is not really a book about Oscar, the cat. He has more of a supporting actor role in this book. It's more about a doctor's experience with his dementia patients and their families. The doctor finds he trusts this cat and he learns to be guided by the cat because Oscar has the ability to sense when a patient is about to die. Oscar goes and curls up with them (or their family members) during their last 24 hours in this life and he is never wrong.

This was a heartwarming and heart-wrenching book about an awful disease called dementia. It wreaks havoc in the lives of the loved ones who are to care for their rapidly declining family member. This was more about letting go with dignity and allowing one to pass on in dignity, as much as one can. Admittedly, the doctor had a hard job, but his bed-side manner could have been a little warmer. However, with that being said, I liked his honest approach to the reality that so many have a hard time embracing until it is ultimately thrust upon them towards the very end. ...more
3

Apr 23, 2018

Dr David Dosa a geriatrician who worked at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation in Rhode Island at the time of publication of this little book. He was told that Oscar the cat often provided comfort and companionship as patients and their families in the dementia unit as they approached their last hours. Dr Dosa had written an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the story started to build. Television news articles, a book, a movie was proposed.

Steere House had numerous therapy Dr David Dosa a geriatrician who worked at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation in Rhode Island at the time of publication of this little book. He was told that Oscar the cat often provided comfort and companionship as patients and their families in the dementia unit as they approached their last hours. Dr Dosa had written an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, and the story started to build. Television news articles, a book, a movie was proposed.

Steere House had numerous therapy animals, numerous cats, one dog, and one bird. Dr Dosa tried to find out what made this common house cat special--able to tell when death was near and able to provide compassionate care to a group of people who are lonely due to living past everyone, due to medical staff not expecting death.

The next time I am an inmate of a nursing home, I hope I should be so blessed to have therapy animals. Although I am a decidedly cat person, I would not be opposed to a dog or a bird or a gerbil or whatever is made available. I was given special permission to have a beta fish when I was in the nursing home. It made a big difference. I talked with Fishy some, watched him. Others came by to check on Fishy too--other nursing home inmates and nursing staff. He made a difference. How much more difference a cat, a dog, or a bird would make--a sentient being who could be pet or curled up with or sit up with (bird perching and human sitting.)

Additional Note. Newcasters too often being drama makers, referred to the cat as being the harbringer of death. What drama. How disrespectful of a compassionate cat. The dementia patients perhaps listened or otherwise heard of the so-called news of their cat being the Death Cat (another way irresponsible newscasters miscast the information). Some time later Oscar was found dead in mysterious circumstances. Now less compassion being shown dementia patients as they let go of this life. Words have power. Use them wisely.

Read ahead in honor of Elderly Americans Month (May) ...more
5

May 21, 2018

Oscar lived on the third floor of a rest home in Rhode Island, where all 41 dementia patients were.
Oscar would jump on the beds of patients when they were near death. He was a comfort to them, the staff and the family. Often he would smell the air around the patients feet. He would stay with the patient until the undertaker came.
Some families could not accept the fact that their loved one might die, so they wanted all the means to keep them alive. It seemed not to help them at all. When it was Oscar lived on the third floor of a rest home in Rhode Island, where all 41 dementia patients were.
Oscar would jump on the beds of patients when they were near death. He was a comfort to them, the staff and the family. Often he would smell the air around the patients feet. He would stay with the patient until the undertaker came.
Some families could not accept the fact that their loved one might die, so they wanted all the means to keep them alive. It seemed not to help them at all. When it was their time to go that was it.
This book has many ideas for families with loved ones who have Alzheimers and how to cope. ...more
5

Jul 02, 2019

Loved this book!! As I thought the story might involve more about Oscar than the author, it still is an excellent read. Dr Dosa's view of his charges in the nursing home with Oscar the cat at his side. I love cats and this little guy stole my heart. Take away--- live in the moment!!
5

Jan 20, 2010

Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat; David Dosa M.D.

On July 27, 2007 Oscar the amazing cat who seemed to be able to predict the imminent death of patients at Steere House Nursing and Rehab Center in Providence, Rhode Island made the AP news . Oscar was a stray cat that began to wander the construction site of the current facility, and one day, shortly after the dedication ceremony, he decided to take a tour of the completed facility....."At first the staff tried Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat; David Dosa M.D.

On July 27, 2007 Oscar the amazing cat who seemed to be able to predict the imminent death of patients at Steere House Nursing and Rehab Center in Providence, Rhode Island made the AP news . Oscar was a stray cat that began to wander the construction site of the current facility, and one day, shortly after the dedication ceremony, he decided to take a tour of the completed facility....."At first the staff tried to shoo the animal away, to no avail, each day the cat returned undaunted, through the lobby's sliding glass doors. His attitude was one of entitlement." He was finally allowed to stay and named Oscar after the building's benefactor.

Oscar was not the only animal that resided at the nursing home. Steere House was unlike other nursing homes in the area. At Steere House, several cats, rabbits and birds resided there, and the residents seemed to enjoy having them there as well. Oscar had not been a very sociable cat during his first year at the nursing and rehab center. He was not one to cuddle up to staff residents or family members. However, one day they found him laying on the bed, purring next to Mrs. Davis, a dementia patient. Dr.Dosa, who was not fond of cats, went to pet Oscar and he hit his hand with his paw refusing to budge from the bed. The doctor examined Mrs Davis, and then left the facility, and about one hour latter the nurse called Dr. Dosa to let him know that Mrs. Davis had passed away. The doctor could not believe what he was hearing; he just left his patent.

Mary, the charge nurse, told Dr. Dosa that this behavior and pattern of Oscars, was not new. In fact it had happened 5-6 times before. The patients were examined, no staff members sensed anything was wrong, and then Oscar would enter the room and sit vigil on the bed of the resident. After a few hours all of these patients peacefully passed away. Suddenly doctors and staff took notice, as to who Oscar choose to visit, and it wasn't long before Oscar had created quite a stir. This ordinary cat instinctively seemed to know when the end of life was near.

MY THOUGHTS - I LOVED this book, and not just because I love cats -- it's full of beautiful quotes about cats, and the story just made me feel good all over. Dr. Dosa has written a book that compassionately addresses end of life issues. The stories he shares about residents and their families who must deal with such painful issues such as Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia, and terminal illness, are tender and heartfelt. The book cites amazing examples of unexpected deaths, as well as miracles in other residents who had been expected to die. There is valuable information about hospice, and the book even touches on that expression "the sweet smell of death", and how perhaps Oscar, may have been able to smell elevated level of chemical compounds which are believed to be released as cells die off." If you like to read tender stories about amazing animals, or need a touching, compassionate read about life, death and dying, this book will not disappoint you. Dewey the Small - Town Library Cat may have touched the world in 2008, but more over Dewey, Oscar is the cat everyone will be talking about in 2010. READ THIS BOOK it's AWESOME! (5/5 stars) ...more
3

Feb 05, 2017

An interesting account of a nursing home's resident cat, who always seems to know when a patient is about to die. As someone who studied human-animal interactions, I enjoyed hearing of this instance of what can only be described as animal-assisted therapy. Oscar the cat not only eased the journey of patients stricken with dementia into the next realm, he also provided comfort to the families of those patients and the staff that cared for them. Note that there is extremely little discussion of An interesting account of a nursing home's resident cat, who always seems to know when a patient is about to die. As someone who studied human-animal interactions, I enjoyed hearing of this instance of what can only be described as animal-assisted therapy. Oscar the cat not only eased the journey of patients stricken with dementia into the next realm, he also provided comfort to the families of those patients and the staff that cared for them. Note that there is extremely little discussion of the possible mechanism by which Oscar operates; I had hoped there would be more, but didn't dislike the book for its absence. Note also that this is not an upbeat book; as much as it is a story of an extraordinary animal, it is also very much the story of the slow death of several patients to whom you are introduced, and the grief of the families that are left behind. If you think it will be difficult for you to endure such stories, then this book is not for you. Ultimately this is perhaps less a book about the why and how of a cat's uncanny ministrations to patients, and more a book about the tragedy of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and how caregivers cope with that. You will learn respect for the senses of non-human animals, but this book will teach you more about the effects of dementia on people and those who care for them. ...more
4

Mar 02, 2012

First, a disclaimer. I know the author, which is the only reason I initially chose to read this book. I was familiar with the story of the cat who knew when the nursing home residents were about to die and wasn't particularly interested in hearing more about it. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that (despite the way the publisher promoted it) the book is not really about the cat at all. While intriguing in its own right, the cat is merely a vehicle for discussing much more important First, a disclaimer. I know the author, which is the only reason I initially chose to read this book. I was familiar with the story of the cat who knew when the nursing home residents were about to die and wasn't particularly interested in hearing more about it. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that (despite the way the publisher promoted it) the book is not really about the cat at all. While intriguing in its own right, the cat is merely a vehicle for discussing much more important and complex topics--aging, dementia, end-of-life care, and the effect of all of these things on family members.

While that description might lead you to think it is a depressing book, it surprisingly is not. The author has an easy-to-read style and conveys his points using true anecdotes from his geriatric practice. It is heartwarming and thought-provoking. I imagine that this might be a very difficult book for someone currently (or recently) dealing with a family member suffering from dementia, as it very clearly states that there are ultimately no long-term positive outcomes to be expected. However, I think it provides perspective on saying goodbye to the loved one who once was, while delicately raising end-of-life care issues that will be relevant to nearly all of us someday (as patient or caregiver).

An easy read that left me thinking about it days after I completed it. ...more
4

Oct 18, 2011

This book did not have enough Meow for me, just like Dewey. Yet, I felt like I got to know this cat much more. Maybe, since I volunteered at a Hospice home for a couple years(not as a nurse though), I can relate more to this setting. Animals make a huge difference to these patients. I remember moving a bird feeder, for a new resident. She spent alot of time at her bay window looking at the birds. The daughter mentioned it was nice to have it, and I replied I moved it just for her mother. These This book did not have enough Meow for me, just like Dewey. Yet, I felt like I got to know this cat much more. Maybe, since I volunteered at a Hospice home for a couple years(not as a nurse though), I can relate more to this setting. Animals make a huge difference to these patients. I remember moving a bird feeder, for a new resident. She spent alot of time at her bay window looking at the birds. The daughter mentioned it was nice to have it, and I replied I moved it just for her mother. These were the cool things I got to do-get back to the bedside some, without the nursing as such. There was also a dog, that got to stay with his master till the end.
Animals bring such comfort and warmth to these hard times in our lives.

To have cats, as resident pets, I think is a great policy. Oscar, and pals-too bad they were not mentioned more, was amazing and caring. Families found comfort with his visits, not fear nor dread.
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4

Dec 09, 2015

I have read articles about Oscar so I was excited to find out there was a book about him. As I read my interest started waning as I realized it was more about the doctor and Alzheimer's then about Oscar.
Though Oscar is given a fair amount of mention it was not a lot in a book of 200+ pages. I gave the book four stars because the stories were emotional and it does help raise awareness of dementia and Alzheimer's. It was a slow read but I learned a lot from it so that made it worthwhile.
3

Dec 31, 2017

To be clear, this book is not about a cat. It is a memoir about the experiences of a doctor providing hospice care in a nursing home. That said, I really hope that I have the comfort of a cat close by when I breathe my last (whether or not the cat is there by extraordinary instinct or simple happenstance).
3

Apr 03, 2018

I found this book while searching for non-fiction audiobooks about animals. Some reviews said that it’s actually more about dementia/end-of-life care than it is about cats, which also appealed to me, so I checked it out. I agree with those reviews. Oscar is a cat that lives at a hospice and has an uncanny ability to know when residents are going to pass away. He generally prefers to leave the residents alone, but if he starts sleeping on someone’s bed, that person usually dies within the day. I I found this book while searching for non-fiction audiobooks about animals. Some reviews said that it’s actually more about dementia/end-of-life care than it is about cats, which also appealed to me, so I checked it out. I agree with those reviews. Oscar is a cat that lives at a hospice and has an uncanny ability to know when residents are going to pass away. He generally prefers to leave the residents alone, but if he starts sleeping on someone’s bed, that person usually dies within the day. I say “usually,” but there aren’t actually any stories in the book about him sitting with someone who doesn’t then pass on, so I guess it’s more like always. There’s not much about HOW Oscar knows which residents are going to die. There are some references to animals sensing illness or earthquakes and stuff, and the author has some theories, but it’s definitely not a book about how animals know things. The book is more about the author’s experience working with patients with dementia and their families. One powerful section was about the hesitancy people have to accept their diagnosis, and how far they go to hide the symptoms. And how far their families go to deny it as well.

I thought it was a really interesting book, and pretty moving at times. It wasn’t really amazing writing, but the subject is one that’s close to home for me, and I appreciated that the author talked to a bunch of different families about their experiences with Oscar. Several of the people that he talked to referred to Oscar as their “angel,” and said that he was there to help escort their loved one to death, and also to comfort the surviving family. I’m glad he was there for them.
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4

Aug 10, 2017

First of all I had heard about similar other cats who have been loving nurturers to patients whether they were human or animal so I may have heard of Oscar just in passing as some trivia companies like to throw things out there in random passing of facts. Otherwise the individual finding of this particular book would have to be given to my sister, which isn't quite that suprising if you follow her taste in books.

First of all if you are an emotional sensitive you may just want to prepare First of all I had heard about similar other cats who have been loving nurturers to patients whether they were human or animal so I may have heard of Oscar just in passing as some trivia companies like to throw things out there in random passing of facts. Otherwise the individual finding of this particular book would have to be given to my sister, which isn't quite that suprising if you follow her taste in books.

First of all if you are an emotional sensitive you may just want to prepare yourself for this book. Just knowing what the main themes in this book are don't give enough warning for the reader as to the roller coaster ride that they will experience in getting to know some of these patients, their families and even the changes that have so deeply ingrained themselves. This book will hit the reader in similar ways that aren't too hard to guess but also in surprising ways that will truly remind the reader that life is full of surprises while you never know what you will find in yours.

Although the book is suppose to be about Oscar there was more mention of the other cats that live in Steere House while occasionally glimpses as to Oscar himself. Although his actions are being observed there is very little else given to him to make him stand out while the author and several others make mention that he is normally a hider, one that tends to vanish when not working or is slightly anti-social, especially depending on who you are. Sadly this isn't what I was expecting but at least he isn't completely missing while the times the author does allude to him makes Oscar truly shine.

The author for the most part uses the cat not only as a modern psychopomp for his patients and a comforter to their family but as a guide to himself. He starts off as not truly a cat person and seems to deal with the animals ony when they want a bit of attention by putting themselves in his way. But as he struggles to find out the key to Oscar and what the neutral scientific explanation can be, Dr. Dosa finds that Oscar is a guide for him as well.

This book becomes less of how to explain the medical mystery of Oscar and more of how a simple life can touch the lives around them. It is Oscar who brings the good doctor out of his rigid scientific teaching and helps him to learn how to be more empathetic with those who rely on him, how to view the monster(s) not by a clean and aloof name but by the way others truly see it and how to come to accept cats for the animals that they truly are. And, by looking for Oscar, the author finds himself being taught by others who may not have the same teaching credentials but plenty of wisdom to share how to be a better person.

This is a beautiful story in its own clear light of how important an animal can be in our own life. How they are a bridge, a guide to learning more and the key to mysteries that cannot ben answered. And although there is information to be learned about what to do when facing the situation of one who has memory-destroying illness there is also enough wisdom to help those in trouble to see that although it may be hard now, there is still hope in the end.

A beautiful book and one that is emotionally rich for those who like cats or just warm stories of interspecies relationships. I am a bit thrown by the fact that the author does say in a roundabout way that he has done some creative licensing and although I cannot seem to figure out who or what that may be it doesn't take the story out of context but in my case it did distract me from what I was reading for I really liked the way the story was given but I also would have liked to have known the whole truth within limits. Again, though, a go od recommend for those who may enjoy this type of read.... ...more
4

Jun 24, 2014

Although cats are fascinating creatures, of which I’m quite fond of the finicky little buggers, “Making Rounds with Oscar” is more than just regaling the story of a cat’s extraordinary companionship tendencies with chronically ill patients. It’s a layman-friendly glimpse into Alzheimer: symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and durational/terminal expectations. And it’s a broad spectrum exploration into the varied affects the disease has on patients, their families, nursing staff, and doctors, along Although cats are fascinating creatures, of which I’m quite fond of the finicky little buggers, “Making Rounds with Oscar” is more than just regaling the story of a cat’s extraordinary companionship tendencies with chronically ill patients. It’s a layman-friendly glimpse into Alzheimer: symptoms, diagnosis, treatments, and durational/terminal expectations. And it’s a broad spectrum exploration into the varied affects the disease has on patients, their families, nursing staff, and doctors, along with therapeutic benefits of animals as companions within nursing care facilities. All of which I found exceptionally insightful and interesting.

In addition to the insightful easy-flow text, each chapter begins with a wonderful quote. A couple of my favorites are:

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.” – George Elliott

“A cat is a puzzle for which there is no solution.” – Hazel Nicholson

My only negative observations are along the lines of topic breadth/depth and focus. Though interesting - all the little dibs and dabs of information, nursing staff interjections, personal blurbs about life, and family testimonials – the book would have been far more interesting and compelling had key elements (one of which being Oscar) been expounded upon. And because of the potpourri mix, the book lacked an identifiable concise theme – contradictory to what the title and book jacket convey.

All in all, despite my finicky observation, and my poor attempt at humor, “Making Rounds with Oscar” is a unique and worthy read – 3 ½ stars – rounded up 4.
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5

Nov 29, 2011

This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

This book was a pleasant surprise to me. I knew that it would be about Oscar and his interactions with patients that were dying, but what surprised me was how the author talked more about the stories of the families that were dealing with a loved one having dementia. Oscar was a definite theme of the book and it was enlightening to read about how he took his role at the house, but even more enlightening was the stories of the families.

The This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

This book was a pleasant surprise to me. I knew that it would be about Oscar and his interactions with patients that were dying, but what surprised me was how the author talked more about the stories of the families that were dealing with a loved one having dementia. Oscar was a definite theme of the book and it was enlightening to read about how he took his role at the house, but even more enlightening was the stories of the families.

The author used very little technical jargon to discuss dementia and instead on focused the stories of the families that Oscar had met. He presented the families as real people, not some facts or figures, but their lives of the loved one, the troubles the family had experienced, and the comfort that Oscar provided in the end. He discusses some of the trials and tribulations of the medical world in its understanding of dementia, navigating the health care system, and how he doesn't even have all of the answers in helping the families.

When Oscar is discussed it is evident that though the families feared what he meant, they were grateful at what he did provide. In the end Oscar was less there for the dying, but for the living. He let the family know that the last hours were approaching and provided them with comfort as they waited.

The book is a must read for not only the story of a cat with an amazing gift, but in learning more about dementia. ...more

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