Cat can sense when nursing home patients are about to die

Discussion in 'General' started by MelT, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. Feline intuition

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    Oscar the cat, who resides at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, has an uncanny ability to sense when a patient is about to die. (Globe Staff Photo / Dina Rudick) </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    By Colin Nickerson, Globe Staff | July 25, 2007

    A hop onto the bed, a fastidious lick of the paws, then a snuggle beside a nursing home patient with little time left. Oscar's purr, when keeping close company with the dying, is so intense it's almost a low rumble.
    "He's a cat with an uncanny instinct for death," said Dr. David M. Dosa, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine and a geriatric specialist. "He attends deaths. He's pretty insistent on it."
    In the two years since Oscar was adopted into the third-floor dementia unit of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, he has maintained close vigil over the deaths of more than 25 patients, according to nursing staff, doctors who treat patients in the home, and an article in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine, written by Dosa.
    When death is near, Oscar nearly always appears at the last hour or so. Yet he shows no special interest in patients who are simply in poor shape, or even patients who may be dying but who still have a few days. Animal behavior experts have no explanation for Oscar's ability to sense imminent death. They theorize that he might detect some subtle change in metabolism -- felines are as acutely sensitive to smells as dogs -- but are stumped as to why he would show interest.
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    "It may just come down to empathy," said Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, a leading behaviorist and professor at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, when told about Oscar's eerie knack.
    In any event, when Oscar settles beside a patient on the bed, caregivers take it as sign that family members should be summoned immediately to bid their loved one farewell.
    "We've come to recognize him hopping on the bed as one indicator the end is very near," said Mary Miranda, charge nurse in the Safe Haven Advanced Care Unit, the formal name of the surprisingly cheery floor that is home to 41 patients suffering in the final stages of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, stroke, and other mentally debilitating diseases. "Oscar's been consistently right."
    Said Dosa, who treats patients at Steere: "This is a cat that knows death. His instincts that a patient is about to die are often more acute than the instincts of medical professionals."

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  2. Hmmmm. Very, very interesting. I wonder how he does it?

    And just looking at his pictures gives me the willies, I don't know why.
  3. hmmm maybe the cat is the one who is actually killing the patients. is purr kills them within an hour. that would explain a lot.
  4. Hes like the Reaper. I wish my cat had dark powers.
  5. Yeah same here. If my cat any powers what so ever he would only use them to move his catfood bowl closer to him because he's just a lazy ass.
  6. :laughing:

    Man, that cat must smoke some strong shit.
  7. yah this is all over the news, and newspaper. Funny how a cat that can sense death is causing such a big commotion nationwide
  8. imagine waking up with the cat staring at you "NOOOO"
  9. I know! That would freak me out! They had a guy on the TV who was talking about how it went up to him, and left a few minutes later and that he was relieve the cat didn't stay... That's so creepy how accurate the cat is though...

  10. Yeah, that's what I'm thinking! Who would suspect a cute little cat?
  11. Animals have some real strong instincts and intuition built into them. I can't deny it. I'm sure there's some sort of biological explanation for it, scent and / or pheremones that the dying might produce that is not distinguishable by humans.

    Just the other day I was sitting outside having a cig, and I see one of my neighbors dogs in the window, barking and sticking his nose thorugh the blinds. About 30 seconds later, my neighbor rolls up in her car and parks in front of the house.

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