Oscar is the "cat that predicts death." Oscar's job is working in a nursing home in Providence, R.I. as a therapy cat. Apparently, Oscar has the ability to sense when people are going to die.
Oscar, a tabby and white who was rescued from an animal shelter, works as a hospice cat at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, R.I.
Since Oscar works in an end-stage dementia unit in the nursing home, it's inevitable that some of his patients will die.
What's unusual, though, is the frequency with which Oscar chooses to spend time with patients in their last hours of life.
Doctors and workers at the nursing home have reported that when Oscar senses a patient is going to pass on, he jumps up on the bed with them and begins purring.
CBS News video of Oscar the therapy cat...Watch on YouTube
He often shows up a few hours prior to the patient's death, and he leaves their bedside shortly after. Reports of his amazing talent started early in his career, and Oscar has reportedly now predicted 50 deaths.
While it's not known just how Oscar is able to do this, he often keeps family members company during this stressful time. His actions also may alert staff members to the impending passing of a patient, giving them time to call the family so they can show up and be with their loved one.
"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."
-Dr. David Dosa
Oscar, who has a kitty co-worker named Mya, has received an award for his service to humanity. Dr. Dosa published the accounts of this psychic kitty in The New England Journal of Medicine.
Dr. Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, has written a book about this exceptional cat and his exploits at the nursing home. The book is available from Amazon.com.Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat