Purrrrr - as in the 'Grim Reap-Purrrr" - anyone else see this???

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by victoria, Jul 28, 2007.

  1. victoria

    victoria New Member

    I know lots of us have posted about how our cats and dogs have snuggled up to us when we've been feeling bad, myself included, so I really found this story touching, that the cats try to comfort the humans!

    Did anyone else see this on the news, about a cat that senses when someone's about to die and appears to try to comfort the person?

    Here's an edited article about him:

    Grim Reap Purr:
    Nursing home feline senses the end

    by Brian Vastag (sciencenews.org)

    Stephen King, take note! A cat in Rhode Island knows when death is nigh.

    Two years ago, the staff of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence adopted a gray-and-white kitten. They named him Oscar and moved him to the third floor of the dementia unit, where he generally keeps to himself.

    Soon, though, the staff noticed something odd: Oscar was always hanging around when someone expired.

    "There are 2 cats on the floor," says David Dosa, a geriatrician for the center and an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University. "One is the friendly cat, and the other one is Oscar, who is sort of unfriendly. [H]e doesn't go out of his way to be social—except when people are about to die."

    Then, Oscar hops on the bed, nuzzles the dying patient, and purrs, Dosa writes in an essay in the July 26 New England Journal of Medicine. Staff now regard Oscar as a dead-eye sentinel and begin calling family members of whomever the cat befriends.

    Dosa says that in the past year, Oscar has predicted about 25 deaths and missed only one.

    Janis Hammer, associate director of the Animal Behavior Institute in Durham, N.C., says that she knows of a cat with similar abilities at a Pennsylvania nursing home. "He would lie on the bed when someone was dying and wouldn't leave," says Hammer, who notes that nursing homes often keep animals for pet therapy.

    Animal experts say that Oscar might be sniffing the end.

    "Cats can smell much better than people," says Bonnie Beaver, professor of veterinary medicine at Texas A&M University in College Station. "And there certainly is the possibility that when a person nears death, their odors change. [Oscar] may be picking up on that."

    As for why Oscar can sense impending doom while his companion cat on the same floor can't, "We'll probably never know," says Beaver.

    "I guess he helps transition people to the other side," says Dosa. "Then that's that, and he goes back to sitting on his desk and minding his own business."

    They showed 'Oscar', & while maybe not overtly friendly, this cat is surely not a grouch! - the personnel in the nursing home said that relatives usually find him quite comforting even if the pt isn't aware of him . . .

    The article above also said that dogs have a keener sense of smell ,and can pick up prostate cancer in urine and sense seizures... & I've even heard of dogs that can sense impending heart attacks and that can sniff out malignant skin cancers!

    Animals are truly amazing!

    all the best,

    PS: also saw a news clip about a baby HIPPO being raised by a family, and YES it was being allowed in the house!!!! thought it was just part of the family....

    [This Message was Edited on 07/28/2007]
  2. boltchik

    boltchik New Member

    I saw this on the news too. Pretty weird, huh?! I only hope the patients weren't aware that the cat was curling up next to them because they were at death's door. Hopefully, they weren't aware or knew that they were about to die and took comfort in the kitty.

    Animals can be pretty amazing. I have never been a "pet person" until now. We recently got a kitten because my 6 yr. old daughter is in love with kitties. We did it for her and now I just love that kitty. (She plays fetch like a dog-Lol!) She has brought a lot of joy to our family.

    Thanks for the post, I thought this was a really interesting story. Kim :)
  3. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Oscar is in the ward for the severe dementia pts, so most are not probably even aware... for those pts who are, it is probably comforting. I can't think of any better way to go myself...

    My MIL just died 3 weeks ago from severe dementia at home here, she was thankfully not aware at the end; but the past year she just loved to hold a stuffed dog that resembled one she'd had a long time ago, and talk to and cuddle it.


  4. boltchik

    boltchik New Member

    I just wanted to say sorry about your MIL's passing. Dementia is very heartwrenching. I hope you have been able to deal with her passing in the best way that you can. I hope your health is okay and I will say a prayer for you. Kim :)
    [This Message was Edited on 07/31/2007]
  5. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    Sure, the cat can tell when about to die. Big cats used to eat people for dinner. A whole cave in Africa filled with human skulls pierced by cat teeth. I've seen the way cats stare at me, wishing I were smaller. The sweet cat is just waiting to.......
    Mr Grouch.

    [This Message was Edited on 07/31/2007]
  6. victoria

    victoria New Member

    Thanks Boltchick, it was a blessing for her actually, this is NOT the way she ever wanted to end her days... Hospice was a huge help, I cannot recommend them more highly!!!!

    & Thanks "Mr. Grouch", hehe.......... what a way to put it!!!! If that were really true.... there would be a whole lot fewer cats as not all that cats are savvy?! ? Have seen some who would rather die than kill a mouse or anything else amazingly...

    But I did hear once that about 60% of cats that are allowed to be indoor/outdoor cats do turn ferral for at least a while... so you may have a point!

    all the best,

  7. therealmadscientist

    therealmadscientist New Member

    Glad you didn't think I'd overdone it:)

    (Alright, shucks, I've had a few cats, and yes, I loved, cherished, etc.)

    We had one cat that was amazingly hardwired to what he saw moving, even at a hundred yards.

    If the creature he saw was larger than him, he instantly ran away.

    If it was smaller, he instantly chased it.

    Cheers, mr Bill
    [This Message was Edited on 07/31/2007]
  8. victoria

    victoria New Member

    What always amazes me are the cats and dogs who think they can take anything on... and usually the smaller they are, the bigger the adversary they think they can take!

    On the other hand, it's inborn in us ALL to avoid wild-eyed rabid acting things, now matter how little, hehe!

    My DH is a bit on the short side, it works well for him lolol........