If you are a resident of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, and a friendly cat comes padding into your room and decides to take a nap on your bed, you are officially allowed to freak out.
Because that cat may be Oscar.
And Oscar the cat appears able to predict the impending death of terminally ill patients.
He hasn’t just done it just once either – in the course of his medical career, Oscar has apparently accurately predicted the death of around 100 people and counting.
The 41-bed Nursing and Rehabilitation Center treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses and has a pet-friendly approach to healthcare which lead them to adopt six cats, one of which was Oscar.
About six months after Oscar arrived, staff noticed that he would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses.
Oscar would sniff and observe patients, then curl up to sleep with certain ones. The patients he would sleep with often died within several hours of his arrival. One of the first cases involved a patient who had a blood clot in her leg that was ice cold at the time. Oscar wrapped his body around her leg and stayed until the woman died.
Oscar was so freakishly, spooky accurate that the staff – the human staff with medical qualifications and everything – introduced a new protocol at the centre:
Once he is discovered sleeping with a patient, staff will call family members to notify them of the patient’s (expected) impending death.
At the time of writing Oscar is reported to still be in the death prediction business and making rounds at the centre.