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Thread: Oscar the cat

  1. #1
    outdoor miner
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    Oscar the cat

    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.

    "Many family members take some solace from it. They appreciate the
    companionship that the cat provides for their dying loved one," said Dosa, a
    geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University.

    The 2-year-old feline was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a
    third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation
    Center. The facility treats people with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease and
    other illnesses.

    After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own
    rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He'd sniff and observe patients,
    then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.

    Dosa said Oscar seems to take his work seriously and is generally
    aloof. "This is not a cat that's friendly to people," he said.

    Oscar is better at predicting death than the people who work there,
    said Dr. Joan Teno of Brown University, who treats patients at the nursing
    home and is an expert on care for the terminally ill

    She was convinced of Oscar's talent when he made his 13th correct
    call. While observing one patient, Teno said she noticed the woman wasn't
    eating, was breathing with difficulty and that her legs had a bluish tinge,
    signs that often mean death is near.

    Oscar wouldn't stay inside the room, though, so Teno thought his
    streak was broken. Instead, it turned out the doctor's prediction was
    roughly 10 hours too early. Sure enough, during the patient's final two
    hours, nurses told Teno that Oscar joined the woman at her bedside.

    Doctors say most of the people who get a visit from the sweet-faced,
    gray-and-white cat are so ill they probably don't know he's there, so
    patients aren't aware he's a harbinger of death. Most families are grateful
    for the advance warning, although one wanted Oscar out of the room while a
    family member died. When Oscar is put outside, he paces and meows his
    displeasure.

    No one's certain if Oscar's behavior is scientifically significant or
    points to a cause. Teno wonders if the cat notices telltale scents or reads
    something into the behavior of the nurses who raised him.

    Nicholas Dodman, who directs an animal behavioral clinic at the Tufts
    University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and has read Dosa's
    article, said the only way to know is to carefully document how Oscar
    divides his time between the living and dying.

    If Oscar really is a furry grim reaper, it's also possible his
    behavior could be driven by self-centered pleasures like a heated blanket
    placed on a dying person, Dodman said.

    Nursing home staffers aren't concerned with explaining Oscar, so long
    as he gives families a better chance at saying goodbye to the dying.

    Oscar recently received a wall plaque publicly commending his
    "compassionate hospice care."

    Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material
    may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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  2. #2
    Art is Resistance
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    I read that the other day.

    It could make a great cheesy short story, where this cat wanders around, stealing the last dying breaths from those too weak to fight back....

    Wow. I need a drink or something, sheesh.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by djcrb9
    I read that the other day.

    It could make a great cheesy short story, where this cat wanders around, stealing the last dying breaths from those too weak to fight back....

    Wow. I need a drink or something, sheesh.
    Sounds like you could be having a bit of a Cat's Eye flashback: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%27s_Eye_%28film%29

    Here's a pic of the furry little angel of death ... although Oscar would be better named after another kitty familiar to we children of the eighties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azrael
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  4. #4
    velocipede technician
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    sounds fair.if dogs can sniff out cancer, cats should get their own super power
    looking for 20-21" P team

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    Sounds like you could be having a bit of a Cat's Eye flashback: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%27s_Eye_%28film%29

    Here's a pic of the furry little angel of death ... although Oscar would be better named after another kitty familiar to we children of the eighties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azrael

    Not familiar with the Stephen King flick, but the Smurf's reference made me chuckle.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by djcrb9
    Not familiar with the Stephen King flick, but the Smurf's reference made me chuckle.
    It is kind of funny that a character from a children's show was named for the angel of death.

    When I found that out it made the "The Smurfs are evil and full of witchcraft!" freak outs by some Christians I knew, well, at least a little less random to me.

    Though to be honest, I don't really know if they would have recognized Azrael. That kind of stuff was pretty verboten.



    The "cat stealing the breath of kids and the sick" was a motif in the Stephen King flick, though the cat was actually on the side of good ... I don't think a 22-year-old movie can have spoilers, sorry ...

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    It is kind of funny that a character from a children's show was named for the angel of death.

    When I found that out it made the "The Smurfs are evil and full of witchcraft!" freak outs by some Christians I knew, well, at least a little less random to me.

    Though to be honest, I don't really know if they would have recognized Azrael. That kind of stuff was pretty verboten.
    Kiddie stuff is rife with those weird sort of references. Willy Wonka was full of that stuff in my mind. All the old fairy tales, of course...
    And my father-in-law still thinks Harry Potter is bad stuff, promotes whatever, and shouldn't be read.

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    So what happens is Huckin' Kitty shows up at your bed side?

    What's with this guy? (Hucking Kitty)

  9. #9
    Hairy man
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    Quote Originally Posted by djcrb9
    Willy Wonka was full of that stuff in my mind. All the old fairy tales, of course...
    Willy Wonka was a totalitarian wet-dream. The kids who step out of line get tortured to death, factory owners enslave "alien" races.... Scary stuff.
    We all get it in the end.

  10. #10
    Who are the brain police?
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    This has been covered on the "general" forum for some time. When this cat approaches on his invisible bike, you will soon be dead. link
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dwight Moody
    Willy Wonka was a totalitarian wet-dream. The kids who step out of line get tortured to death, factory owners enslave "alien" races.... Scary stuff.
    Yup. And depending on how jacked your world view is, Willy Wonka can either be god or the devil.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kept man
    Sounds like you could be having a bit of a Cat's Eye flashback: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cat%27s_Eye_%28film%29

    Here's a pic of the furry little angel of death ... although Oscar would be better named after another kitty familiar to we children of the eighties: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Azrael
    ???

    -edit- nevermind I get it now.
    "What would happen to the Weather Channel's ratings if people werent scared anymore?"

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