The Cat That Can Predict Death
Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.
His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means they have less than four hours to live.
"He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die," said Dr. David Dosa in an interview.
The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.
After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.
Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patientsat the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill.
Tags: Cat | Death | Hospital