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

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Grim Reap Purr: Nursing home feline senses the end

By
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

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content