Wednesday, February 3, 2010

GRIM REA-Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

Here's a bit more info on Zalaski's "DEATH CAT" story.

When doctors and staff realized that a cat could sense when someone was going to die, the feline, Oscar, was portrayed as a furry grim reaper or four-legged angel of death.

But Dr. David Dosa, who broke the news of Oscar's abilities in a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine said he never intended to make Oscar sound creepy or his arrival at a bedside to be viewed negatively.

When Oscar was about six months old the staff noticed that he would curl up to sleep with patients who were about to die.

So far he has accurately predicted about 50 deaths.

Dosa recounts one instance when staff were convinced of the imminent death of one patient but Oscar refused to sit with that person, choosing instead to be on the bed of another patient down the hallway. Oscar proved to be right. The person he sat with died first, taking staff on the ward by surprise.

Dosa said he hopes his newly released book, "Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat" will put the cat in a more favorable light as well as providing a book to help people whose loved ones are terminally ill.

"I wanted to write a book that would go beyond Oscar's peculiarities, to tell why he is important to family members and caregivers who have been with him at the end of a life."

Dosa said there is no scientific evidence to explain Oscar's abilities, but he thinks the cat might be responding to a pheromone or smell that humans simply don't recognize.

Oscar has even been thanked by families in obituaries for providing some comfort in the final hours of life.

"The first time I met Oscar he bit me. We have warmed over the years. We have moved into a better place," said Dosa.

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