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The Cat That Can Predict Death

Updated on April 13, 2012

Oscar the "furry angel of death"


Oscar was a tiny kitten when staff at Steere House, a nursing home in Rhode Island, took him in. However, they didn't know that he had an amazing ability.

He can predict when someone is about to die.

The staff first realized this as they noticed Oscar spending time with patients in the advanced dementia unit as they were becoming terminal. When a patient is close to death, the cat will jump up on the bed, sniff out the patient, curl up next to him or her, and purr. If he is kept outside of the patient's door, he will scratch on the door in an attempt to get in.

One of the first incidents was that of a woman who had a blood clot in her leg. Oscar wrapped his body around her leg, which was very cold, and stayed by her side until she died.

Oscar is even able to predict when a patient is about the die more accurately than the nurses, as they found out when they placed him beside a resident they thought was close to death. Instead, though, he jumped off the bed and went to sit beside a patient in another room. It turned out the patient he chose to sit next to died that evening, while the other lived for another few days.

Margie Scherk, president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners and a veterinarian in Vancouver, British Columbia, says that it is very possible that he is able to smell some type of chemical that is released just before death. Daniel Estep, a certified applied animal behaviorist in Littleton, Colo, offers another explanation of the cat's mysterious behavior. He claims that Oscar may be predicting the residents' deaths not as a result of smells, but simply because of the patient's lack of movement.

Either way, Oscar is able to provide comfort to both the patient and the family, as his actions help alert the nursing home's staff to inform the patients' family members when they are about to die so that they have enough time to say goodbye.


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    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I had heard about this cat or a similar animal in a nursing home that always lingered near a dying person's bed. It was probably a comfort to the person dying. Animals are amazing! There is much we can learn from them.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 5 years ago from America

      I saw this on tv. While at WW a woman told me her daughter-in-law had died and the deer came up to the door when she died. The nurses said they do that all the time when someone is has died. Not the same but the same idea about animals. Voted Up

    • jennzie profile image

      Jenn 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Thanks for commenting everyone! It's amazing what animals can pick up on- and way before us humans even know anything is about to happen.

    • Beth100 profile image

      Beth100 5 years ago from Canada

      I have read about this cat as well as about a dog who does the same. Scientifically, they are testing to see if animals can smell a chemical change in patients who are terminally ill. So far, the animals have been able to predict who will pass. Their accuracy has been impeccable (both great and sad..... someone has had to die to test this theory).

      All animals have much keener senses than we humans. Horses will go ballistic before a major storm -- especially tornados and hurricanes. Cows will head back to their barn and stay there before you can see the rolling storm clouds appear on the horizon. Birds will not fly in before a storm -- they go back to their nests and prepare for the storm. You will not see or hear a bird right before a severe storm. Fish dive deeper to get away from the choppy currents. There are hundreds of examples of how animals can detect death and danger.

      Great hub!!

    • bac2basics profile image

      Anne 5 years ago from Spain

      Oscar is just a furry angel !!I think animals have a much greater awareness of change than humans, and also a much better sense of smell.How lovely to have a cat curled up and purring by your side when you pass over though.

    • Angelme566 profile image

      Angelme566 5 years ago

      God this is so amazing and bit scary . Good to know this things , what i know is cats have cats have multiple of lives. Voted Up !

    • profile image

      Chris Hugh 5 years ago

      Interesting. Once the gas main broke down the street. The cops came and told us to evacuate. I was able to get Twitch into a carrier, but Mr. Kitten was like "No...I don't think we're in any danger. I'm staying here under the bed. Just out of your reach." He simply wouldn't let me catch him.

      I was afraid the house would blow up around us, so I took Twitch and left. I was a little annoyed with Mr. Kitten for being so headstrong, but he ended up being right after all. I'm glad.

    • myownlife profile image

      myownlife 5 years ago from london

      Yes it's true, not only the cat but almost all the animals and birds can feel that something is about to happen, specially natural calamities such as earthquake, flooding, tsunami and even I have been hearing from my generations in my village that if you have cat, dog at home and something unfortunate is about to take place at home it indicates.

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Thanks for sharing. I can believe this. Animals fortunatley are not caught up in all the things we are but, somehow know much we don't. Maybe if we weren't caught up in all the extra's we would also see the logical?

    • jennzie profile image

      Jenn 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Supposedly they are. :)

    • Larry Okeke profile image

      Larry Okeke 5 years ago from Enugu, Nigeria

      Wait a minute: ARE THESE STORIES TRUE???

    • jennzie profile image

      Jenn 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I agree James. I believe that cats have some sort of supernatural abilities and can see/sense things that we can't.

      That's an awesome story CHG. Cats can be amazing creatures.

    • crazyhorsesghost profile image

      Thomas Byers 5 years ago from East Coast , United States

      Oscar sounds like a wonderful cat. I've also known cats that predicted death or disaster. A friend of mines house in Kansas was destroyed by a tornado. His cat went crazy about a hour before the tornado struck and leaped out the door when his son came into the house. Him and his son got into the car and went looking for the cat. About 20 minutes later while they were about two miles away their house was destroyed by the tornado. The next day when they were looking to see what they could salvage the cat came home. Up until that day the cat had never been out of the house. They have lived where they live now for five years and the cat has never went crazy again. I believe the cat saved the life of my friend and his son.

    • James Agbogun profile image

      James Agbogun 5 years ago

      I do not think it is specific to one Cat. In those days, when we were younger, Cats would come visiting at night crying for several days before the death of an individual.