Cat Predicts 50 Nursing Home Deaths

Dr David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, said that five years of records showed Oscar rarely erring, sometimes proving medical staff at the New England nursing home wrong in their predictions over which patients were close to death.

Dr Dosa first publicised Oscar’s gift in an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007. Since then, the cat has gone on to double the number of imminent deaths it has sensed and convinced the geriatrician that it is no fluke.

Full story of Oscar’s ability to sense imminent death.


Comments (8)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Tom H. says:

    There ought to be a way of making money off of a cat like that. Not sure how to do it though.

  2. Vicki says:

    We should call this the “cat tip.”

  3. Larry C. says:

    Well, if Oscar were in a hospital, the hospital could be alerted if a patient needed end-of-life emergency care.

    Or, it could save on end-of-life expenses, if Oscar’s predictions are accurate, regardless of what doctors do.

  4. Virginia says:

    I think it’s interesting that the cat is antisocial unless the person is dying.

    Perhaps the cat does not predict death. Perhaps it is the other way around… (que spooky music)

    In which case, we have definitive proof that dogs are the better choice for those looking to increase longevity.

  5. Seamus says:

    Call me skeptical, but a cat predicting death in a nursing home is a bit like a blindfolded man throwing a dart in a roomful of balloons, you’re bound to hit something.

  6. Devon Herrick says:

    Is the cat really antisocial? I’m struck by the thought that residents of the nursing home probably don’t exactly welcome the cat when it comes around, fearing they will be next. The only residents that don’t shoo it away are probably those too ill to resist and most likely to die. Thus, when the cat finds a warm spot next to a person who doesn’t resist, it lays down.

    That reminds me of a recent study that found people who attend church regularly live longer. Of course, people at the highest risk of impending death are probably those too ill to attend church regularly.

  7. Vicki says:

    Not quite Seamus. The cat apparently discriminates among the baloons and does so accurately.

  8. Seamus says:

    Vicki- ah, but the dart also discriminates among the balloons, and very accurately finds the one that is due to pop next.
    Or to put it differently, in a setting with a high likelihood of a certain event happening, the chance of randomly picking the next occurrence of that event also becomes relatively high.
    Not impugning the death-sensing capabilities of the cat, just pointing out other possible explanations, as Devon rightly does as well.