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Oscar the cat predicts nursing home deaths

by Therese on July 25, 2007

in Cats, Health, Pets


I just posted this over at PetHobbyist.com but thought it was such a touching story I want to post here too. It’s about a cat named Oscar who lives in a Rhode Island nursing home, and for whatever reason, he is able to predict the death of nursing home residents.

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 the patient has less than four hours to live.

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” Dr. David Dosa said in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

“Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one,” said Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.


Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there, said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill.

CNN has the full story on Oscar.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

AuthorMomWithDogs July 25, 2007 at 10:19 pm

So Oscar’s the keeper of the portal between life and death… Big job.


Therese July 25, 2007 at 10:43 pm

Definitely a big job! The thought I had though is how many of those people in some way could feel that cat there with them? I’m guessing Oscar may have given them some type of comfort when they needed it. What a cat!


Johann July 26, 2007 at 5:03 pm

I think that’s amazing. Mum says that my kittie brother Wiggy is a healing cat. When Mum’s back hurts, Wiggy will knead on her back and it doesn’t hurt anymore. Cats can be amazing…..


jan July 27, 2007 at 1:08 pm

I wouldn’t want that cat to come near me. This sounds like Stephen King or Rod Serling.


rob clemenz July 28, 2007 at 10:09 am

Oscar the Cat is yet another example of pets who have intuitive skills and can help us all learn to be better, more compassionate people. There’s so much we can learn from our four legged friends.


eurica July 28, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Cats, dogs and monkeys (a.o.) can detect when an epileptic person will have an attack before the person feels it coming on. The dying person could also be sending out vibes that the cat detect. Special about this cat is that he was not trained to do it. He just happened to do it for personal reason (I guess)


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