Friday, July 27, 2007

Cat Senses Imminent Death

No joke!!!

Oscar The Cat Senses & Warns of Patients' Imminent Death

I find this utterly fascinating. This story has been making headlines everywhere recently. Check it out if you haven't seen it.

Purr of Death

There's even an official report in the New England Journal of Medicine:

A Day in the Life of Oscar the Cat - David M. Dosa, M.D., M.P.H.

I just think that is amazing.

Excerpt from first link:

"He's a cat with an uncanny instinct for death," said David Dosa, assistant professor at the Brown University School of Medicine and a geriatric specialist.

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. Authorities in animal behaviour have no explanation for Oscar's ability to sense imminent death. They theorise 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.

In any event, when Oscar settles on a patient's bed, caregivers take it as a sign that family members should be summoned immediately.

"We've come to recognise him hopping on the bed as one indicator the end is very near," said Mary Miranda, charge nurse on the surprisingly cheery floor that is home to 41 patients in the final stages of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, a stroke, and other mentally debilitating diseases. "Oscar's been consistently right."

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