Amazing cat called Oscar

I found a beautiful (but sad) article in the newspaper yesterday and I just had to share it.  It is about a cat called Oscar who lives in a Nursing Home (which contains mostly dementia patients).  Oscar has a special ability - he knows when the elderly patients are going to die and lays next to them until they have passed away. At first the hospital didn't believe this was possible

"After a year, the staff noticed that Oscar would spend his days pacing from room to room. He sniffed and looked at the patients but rarely spent much time with anyone - except when they had just hours to live. He's accurate enough that the staff - including Dr Dosa - know it's time to call family members when Oscar stretches beside a patient, who is generally too ill to notice his presence. If kept outside the room of a dying patient, he'll scratch at doors and walls, trying to get in. Nurses once placed Oscar in the bed of a patient they thought gravely ill."

 "Oscar wouldn't stay put, and the staff thought his streak was broken. It turned out the medical professionals were wrong, and the patient rallied for two more days. But in the final hours, Oscar held his bedside vigil without prompting."

"The feline's bizarre talent astounds Dr Dosa, but he finds Oscar's real worth in his fierce insistence on being present when others turn away from life's most uncomfortable topic: death.  "People actually were taking great comfort in this idea, that this animal was there and might be there when their loved ones eventually pass," Dr Dosa said. "He was there when they couldn't be." Dr Dosa, 37, is a geriatrician and professor from Rhode Island who treats patients with severe dementia. It's usually the last stop for people so ill they cannot speak or recognise their spouses, and so spend their days lost in fragments of memory.  He once feared that families would be horrified by the furry grim reaper, especially after he made Oscar famous in a 2007 essay in the New England Journal of Medicine."
Dr Dosa has just written a book to tell Oscars story: Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat.
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World (by Vicki Myron) is another book about a cat that would seek out people who needed some comfort - lonely people who visited the Library. Great book this one.

My husband and I use to (back in the 1980's) work with teenages with severe disabilities - sometime my husband would bring in his Doberman (Cromwell - a lively active large dog) - but  once at the Centre he would seek out a teenager who couldn't communicate with severe disabilities and lie next to them touching - it wouldn't be long before we would have a smile.  Cromwell was never rough or lively - he just knew.

I am sure dogs and cats know when a person is sick or in need of comfort.  Amazing creatures.  Not sure what clever things my little girl Ruby will do - at the moment she is bring us lots of joy and laughter.  In this photo she thinks she is hiding from Charlie Cat:)


  1. I saw the story on Oscar a couple years ago. THey run it every so often and every time I am just stunned. Truly an amazing cat.!

  2. My mother teaches at an elementary school. The former special ed teacher there would often bring in his dog, a large golden lab. The children responded very well to him, and he had a calming affect on the entire class. God certainly gave animals many gifts that we can appreciate!

  3. Yep, I saw that episode on "House"


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