Grim Reap Purr: Nursing home feline senses the end | Science News

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Grim Reap Purr: Nursing home feline senses the end

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1:11pm, July 25, 2007

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 two 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

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