Rounds with Oscar “The Grim Reaper” Cat

When Oscar “The Grim Reaper” Cat makes his rounds in Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, it’s not usually to cuddle with the patients. It’s to warn the nursing home staffs that their patient has few hours to live. Oscar is so good in predicting deaths in his dominion (well, the nursing home who adopted him actually) that the staffs trust his instinct. When Oscar comes to visit a patient and stays around for good number of minutes, the staff usually calls the patient’s relatives to come visit!

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Is Oscar Any Special Cat?

Oscar “The Grim Reaper” Cat is no special feline; at least not when he was a kitten. He didn’t have a home, so the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center adopted Oscar to become a staff in the center. His designation… a companion cat to the elderly. Oscar took his job very seriously and even brought it to the next level – a commendable albeit creepy level. When it’s time for the patient to go, Oscar would come in the room and curls up or lingers around the patient. Sure enough, the patient will leave within 2 to 4 hours; and he’s done it 25 times already! Oscar might be special after all.

Hello Kitty, Goodbye Life

Twenty-five times Oscar “The Grim Reaper” Cat has predicted deaths in the nursing home. The doctors and the nurses can’t even come close to predict a patient’s death within few hours from happening. So it might not be just serendipity – Oscar just might have something special in his kitty sleeve. Oscar is not the cuddle-addict type of cat; he likes to be alone in his corner most of the time. But when he makes his rounds and lingers around a patient for some cozy moment… the staffs are warned. The 2-year-old cat did predict deaths 25 times, after all.

How Does He Do It

No one exactly knew how Oscar “The Grim Reaper” Cat does his job. But the nursing home staffs are glad he does. Some say that he’s taking a cue from the nurses’ behavior when a patient is dying. After all, the nursing home prides itself of taking care of their residents until they leave – no one dies alone in their care. So when it’s a patient’s time to go, nurses are always around him or her 24/7. Oscar might have trained himself to read nurses gestures within few hours of the patient’s death. Others went further to say cats have an uncanny ability to sniff death. When people are about to die, the body chemistry and field of energy will change, which the cat might pick up. But at the end of the day, not many cats can predict death, so there’s really no way of conducting definitive research.

Oscar Award

Because of Oscar’s great work in the nursing home, the staff gave him an honorary mention. He received a wall plaque for being a compassionate hospice staff that’s always there for the dying. His uncanny ability allowed the staff to render their respect and care for the dying better. After all, no doctors or nurses in the nursing home can predict death 2 to 4 hours from happening.

What Does the Patients’ Family Say

When the patients’ family members were told about Oscar’s role in the nursing home, most of them were glad. At least they know that not only are the caring staffs are looking after their loved one, a furry companion is too. Everyone would appreciate that someone would keep their dying relative company until their deaths, and Oscar makes sure that this happens. However, there was one instance that the family asked the nurses to let Oscar “The Grim Reaper” Cat out of the room of their dying patient. Oscar paid vigil outside the door pacing back and forth until his patient died giving new meaning to the phrase “loyal cat.”

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