Friday, July 27, 2007

Oscar the Angel Cat

I think this is a wonderful story of a cat who has chosen to spend his life comforting those about to die. After a lifetime of hardship and trials, no one should have to die alone. It would be comforting to know that someone, even one of our four legged friends was beside me when I died.

Of course if I was sitting in bed eating some snackies and watching the telly and he jumped on the bed and curled up next to me, I would be like, oh crap.

But seriously, he is Angel amongst us and may he himself live a long 9 lives.
When Oscar the Cat visits residents of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, the staff jumps into action -- Oscar can sense within hours when someone is about to die.

In his two years living in Steere's end-stage dementia unit, Oscar has been at the bedside of more than 25 residents shortly before they died, according to Dr. David Dosa of Brown University in Providence.

He wrote about Oscar in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"It's not that the cat is consistently there first," Dr. Joan Teno, a professor of community health at Brown University, who sees patients in the unit. "But the cat always does manage to make an appearance, and it always seems to be in the last two hours."

Raised at the nursing home since he was a kitten, Oscar often checks in on residents, but when he curls up for a visit, physicians and nursing home staff know it's time to call the family.
"I don't think this is a psychic cat," said Teno. "I think there's probably a biochemical explanation," she said in a telephone interview.

While pets are often used to bring comfort to the elderly in nursing home settings, Oscar's talent is special, though not unexpected.
"That is such a cat thing to do," said Thomas Graves, a feline expert and chief of small animal medicine at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

Graves said there is no evidence to suggest cats can sense death, but he doesn't discount it for a minute.
"Those things are hard to study. I think probably dogs and cats can sense things we can't," he said.

On a particular day detailed by Dr. Dosa, Oscar settled onto the bed of a patient in room 313.
His presence sent staff off to make calls and set up vigil.

When a grandson asked why the cat was there, his mother explained: "He is here to help Grandma get to heaven," according to Dosa's account.
She died a half an hour later.


Anonymous said...

Heard about him on the news. Awesome.

Anonymous said...

Just read about him, cool thing he does isn't it?

Shelia said...

Makes me wonder how he knows? My cat has been curling up with me every night. She must be tired of waiting for me to die. That bitch. HEHE