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Oscar the Cat Predicts Death

July 30, 2007 | 37,583 views
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At a nursing home in Providence, Rhode Island, a wall plaque honors Oscar, an unusual member of the nursing team, for his “compassionate hospice care.”

Oscar is a cat, and he has an uncanny ability to predict when the home’s residents are going to die. In at least 25 different cases, Oscar has accurately chosen who is about to die, usually within four hours, by curling up on their bed, nuzzling the person, and purring until they pass away.

The staff at the home, which treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses, are so trusting of Oscar’s instincts that they now call family members as soon as Oscar takes a post.

Whether or not Oscar’s behavior is scientifically significant remains a mystery, but the nursing home staff is grateful for Oscar’s warnings, which give families extra time to spend with loved ones, right before they pass away.

Animals often seem to have a sixth sense about things that humans may overlook. This story is really an astonishing example of the innate gifts both humans and animals possess.

Of course, animals are not just bearers of bad news. Having a pet has been shown to reduce stress and add years of happiness to your life.

The New England Journal of Medicine July 26, 2007, 357:328-329 (Free Full-Text Article)

CNN.com July 30, 2007