Oscar, a 2-year-old cat that was adopted as a kitten and grew up in a third-floor dementia unit at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, does his rounds each day just as the doctors. 

But Oscar can sense something the doctors cannot. 

The facility treats people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.  After about six months, the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses and would have an uncanny knack for predicting when nursing home patients are going to die.  He would sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours. 

In the story from CNN, Dr. David Dosa explains: 

He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,” Dr. David Dosa said in an interview. He describes the phenomenon in a poignant essay in Thursday’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Oscar’s accurate predictions, observed in 25 cases, is better than the trained doctors and nurses at the home, and his sixth sense gives the staff advance warning and time to notify family members once he has chosen a patient.