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News
Aug 8, 2007
Oscar the cat
Oscar the incredible cat with the purr of death.
Oscar the cat predicts nursing home patients' deaths
by Gulliver

An amazing cat can predict when patients in a Rhode Island are going to die, curling up beside them to keep them company in their final hours.

The medical moggy's predictions are proving more accurate than trained medical staff, according to an essay in the respected 'New England Journal of Medicine'.

Dr. David Rosa says of Oscar the incredible cat: "He doesn't make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die."

The two-year-old cat makes his rounds at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Centre in Providence - just like the doctors and nurses.

After he has sniffed and observed patients, he curls up beside them during their final hours.

When Oscar has chosen his patient, it usually means they have less than four hours to live.

Dr. Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, wrote an article on the astonishing Oscar in the 'New England Journal of Medicine'.

The article entitled 'A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat' was published on July 26, 2007.

In it Dr. Dosa states: "Since he was adopted by staff members as a kitten, Oscar the Cat has had an uncanny ability to predict when residents are about to die.

"Thus far, he has presided over the deaths of more than 25 residents on the third floor of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

"His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families.
"No one dies on the third floor unless Oscar pays a visit and stays awhile."

According to Dr. Dosa, Oscar has provided companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone. For his work, he is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves.

There is even a plaque mounted on the wall in his honor. On it is engraved a commendation from a local hospice agency: "For his compassionate hospice care, this plaque is awarded to Oscar the Cat."
The centre treats people suffering from Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.

Oscar takes his work seriously and is generally aloof, according to Dr. Dosa. "This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.

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