by Greg Mayer
Oscar the cat gained fame in 2007 when David Dosa reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that he had “an uncanny ability to predict when residents [of the nursing home where he lives] are about to die.”
Thus far, he has presided over the deaths of more than 25 residents on the third floor of Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island. His mere presence at the bedside is viewed by physicians and nursing home staff as an almost absolute indicator of impending death, allowing staff members to adequately notify families. Oscar has also provided companionship to those who would otherwise have died alone. For his work, he is highly regarded by the physicians and staff at Steere House and by the families of the residents whom he serves.
An article in Slate later urged us, wisely in my opinion, to take Dosa’s article, if not Oscar, with a grain of salt. Oscar is shown here with the physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer ‘s famous rendering of a line from the Bhagavad Gita; Oppenheimer may be seen saying it in this video.