28 July 2007

Death Kitty

Via Scientific American:
When a cat named Oscar curls up next to an ailing patient at a nursing home in Rhode Island, staffers start calling next of kin. Seems the standoffish kitty gets friendly when he senses the end is near: In the two years since Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence adopted the finicky feline, more than 25 residents in the center's dementia unit died just hours after Oscar showered them with affection, Reuters reports. The New England Journal of Medicine let the cat out of the bag. (NEJM; Reuters)
(The longer NEJM story is really quite touching.)


  1. Uh ... I hope there's not a causal relationship.

  2. This one seemed to strike a nerve in our culture - got syndicated everywhere, both mainstream and blogosphere. Wonder why. Maybe we're desperate for a dose of magical realism in this post-Reason age.

  3. You're right -- I hadn't heard about it before when I saw it as a blip on the Scientific American site, but then, having noticed it, I began noticing it everywhere. Somebody said it was the lead story on the CBS news or something like that, which seems bizarre. The story's one we could interpret in a variety of ways, but that's not what caught my attention so much as the tone and wording of the SA notice, which made me chuckle.