Monday, July 30, 2007

Cat Accurately Predicts Death

If you’re reading this near the end of July, 2007, I apologize. I know this story is everywhere, but I couldn’t resist adding this to the blog. For those who have not heard, a cat named Oscar shows up next to patients within hours of death in a Rhode Island nursing home. Check out the story at CNN.

So far, Oscar has accurately predicted death in 25 observed cases.

Even when doctors observe signs that death is near, Oscar doesn’t come in until the final hours. In one case, a doctor noticed a patient had stopped eating, was having difficulty breathing and her legs were turning blue: sure signs of imminent death. But Oscar was nowhere to be seen, so the doctor “thought his streak was broken,” reports CNN. As it turns out, the patient didn’t die for 10 hours, and during the last two, Oscar was there.

Some speculate that Oscar is picking up a scent that signals death is near. Others suggest that he’s observing something in the behavior of nurses. Still others think it has something to do with “self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket placed on a dying person.”

If any or all of these have something to do with Oscar’s uncanny ability, if it’s so easily explained, why aren’t other cats doing this?

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.