creepy cat

(Sunday, July 29: Updated with NEJM link)

This was just too odd to pass up. My father raised my siblings and me with what’s best described as an unhealthy sense of skepticism. Such unwillingness to ever suspend disbelief might make for being a good scientist but I’ve seen that over application can result in a somewhat annoying human. I often find I want to believe…but I’m always held back by skepticism, usually right from the outset. So on reading this story (excerpted below), my tendency is toward the assumption of a non-causal or at least not directly causal relationship between death and the cat.

I think that the article does a reasonably good job of keeping the report on the up and up though. Most likely because the doctors referenced in the article do.

When death comes calling, so does Oscar the cat

PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (AP) — Oscar the cat seems to have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die, by curling up next to them during their final hours.

His accuracy, observed in 25 cases, has led the staff to call family members once he has chosen someone. It usually means the patient has less than four hours to live.

“He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” Dr. David Dosa said in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

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1 Comment

  1. Have you seen there is a cat in San Fran now that does this too? Very strange stuff going on.


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