Dr. David M. Dosa, in the July 26, 2007, issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, reported that a cat residing at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 100 Borden Street, Providence, can seemingly predict patient deaths. Two-year-old Oscar, a grey and white long-hair, has been observed consistently choosing for his cat-naps, the beds of end-stage Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease sufferers who only have two to four hours left to live. Once their time is up, Oscar rises, stretches, and casually walks away.
If we were more superstitious people we might imagine that Oscar was somehow sucking the last spark of life from these unfortunates to stoke the fires of his own nine lives. The staff at the nursing homes see a bright side to the fluffy little harbinger of death's cuddly visits, though—it allows them time to notify next-of-kin that the paradise train is probably about to leave the station. In recognition of Oscar's eerie gift, the cat was awarded a certificate of merit by Home and Hospice Care of Rhode Island, "for providing exceptional end-of-life care."