Monday, August 27, 2007

Can cat's "Sixth Sense" predict death?

This is an old news... appearing in newspapers about a month ago...
I recently listen to 雲海's 《談談靈‧說說怪》show. It talks about this cat, so I decided to look at the news again....

A two-year-old cat, Oscar, has become a sign of death at a Rhode Island nursing home, curling up beside dying patients in their final few hours. Oscar was adopted as a kitten and grew up on the centre's third-floor dementia unit, which treats patients with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and other illnesses.

According to Dr. David Dosa (a geriatrician at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center), Oscar makes his daily rounds, waiting patiently outside rooms if the doors are closed. Once inside, the grey-and-white cat jumps onto beds and appears to inspect patients by sniffing the air. If Oscar leaves the room, the patient isn't likely to die that day. But when the cat curls up on the bed, staffs will start phoning family members because the patient usually dies within four hours.

Oscar's skills of death are beyond question - and have even been the subject of an article in as august a publication as the New England Journal Of Medicine. To date he has predicted the deaths of 25 patients, and done so with such accuracy that he has completely won the trust of even the initially incredulous medical staff.

"I think it was around the 13th patient," Dr. Dosa says. "Their breathing had changed, and their extremities were cooling. We'd already noticed Oscar seemed to have form in predicting when someone was about to die so I asked if he'd been in. Mary the nurse said, 'No' and I said, 'Oh, let's put him in there and let him keep his streak going.' So we did. Oscar went in, sniffed around - and promptly left the room. The next morning I asked how things had gone overnight and was told the patient had died at 2.30am - about ten hours after I'd predicted. And Oscar had gone back into the room, and stayed there, two hours beforehand. So he's obviously a better prognosticator than I am."

Animal Experts think that cats might be able to pick up the specific odors surrounding death.

Anyway, Oscar has recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his "compassionate hospice care".

Daily Mail
CBS News
CBC News

1 comment:

Bella said...

I love Oscar, My cat is waaaaaayyyyyy cuter than him though.