This morning’s Greenville News had an article from one of the various newsfeeds. A recent issue of The New England Journal of Medicine contained an essay about Oscar the cat. Oscar resides in the dementia ward of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. Apparently he has a knack for picking out which patients are about to die. If Oscar hangs out with a patient, the patient usually has about four hours to live, and they contact the patient’s family. The article didn’t give percentage of accuracy, but does say that he gets it right more often than not.
I have to wonder. Do these patients know about Oscar’s reputation? I think I would freak out if I saw this cat coming my way. I also what happens if the family is called, and Oscar gets it wrong.
Regardless, it’s a fascinating observation. I think they ought to do some controlled studies and document the percentage of accuracy. I think they should also introduce another cat and see if that one has a similar percentage of accuracy.
I’ve noticed that our cats seem to sense when we’re not feeling well. Especially if one of us is in bed at an odd time of day, as I was with my migraine earlier this week, at least one of the younger cats will come to check on us, and will keep us company for awhile. It would be interesting to see if there is a scientific basis for a deeper connection, rather than just noticing something is different.