Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Death Cat: Predicting The End.

From the Globe and Mail:

“A cat with an uncanny ability to detect when nursing home patients are about to die has proven itself in around 50 cases by curling up with them in their final hours, according to a new book,” The Daily Telegraph reports. “Dr. David Dosa, a geriatrician and assistant professor at Brown University, said that five years of records showed Oscar rarely erring, sometimes proving medical staff at the New England nursing home wrong in their predictions over which patients were close to death.” Oscar, now five and generally unsociable, was adopted as a kitten. The cat spends its days pacing from room to room, rarely spending any time with patients except those with just hours to live. If kept outside the room of a dying patient, Oscar will scratch on the door trying to get in. In his book, Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat, Dr. Dosa suggests Oscar is able – like dogs, which can reportedly smell cancer – to detect ketones, the distinctly odoured biochemicals given off by dying cells.

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