Can Animals Predict Death?

by MSO

Cats are generally aloof and very independent, is it possible that they can predict impending death?

There have been many stories of animals doing strange things when there are abnormal changes in weather, an illness, and now there are reports of animals that can apparently predict death.

A cat named Oscar that lives in the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation centre in Rhode Island is known for not being particularly friendly and social around staff, residents or visitors. He was brought to the pet-friendly nursing home from a local animal shelter and lives in a ward that cares for people with advanced dementia. However, if Oscar decides to curl up next to you and smother you with kitty affection, most people at the home take that as a sign that you would only have a few hours left in this life. Oscar has predicted more than fifty deaths since 2007, and the workers at the hospice are still in disbelief that Oscar has this talent and the other cats that live at the home do not.

One theory is that Oscar can smell ketones, a biochemical that has a very distinctive smell that cells emit as they are dying. Another theory is that it might be the lack of movement in the patient.Oscar is said to have a better prediction rate than some of the nurses. For example, when Oscar was placed next to a person they believed was going to die soon, Oscar bolted from the bed and entered another room and curled up with the patient there instead. Oscar was right, the patient he was with died only a few hours later.

In another case of Oscar’s incredible accuracy, a doctor determined that a patient was about to pass on based on their condition. However, Oscar didn’t stay in this patients room, which caused the doctor to believe Oscar’s prediction streak had ended. It turns out the doctor was too early with his diagnosis; Oscar visited the patient when they died ten hours later.

Nurses have taken to calling family members as soon as they see Oscar curled up with a patient. Oscar’s “sixth sense” is comforting to family members who could not be with the dying person. They know that Oscar provided comfort when they could not be there.On some rare occasions, the family will request that Oscar be removed from the patient’s room, in which case he will pace back and forth in front of the patient’s door and meow in protest.

Oscar’s uncanny ability has been immortalized in the big screen. Making the Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat in currently in development by Wind Dancer Films and Anonymous Content.

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