It is well known that animals have abilities that puzzle many
humans. For example, we know that because dogs have a keen sense of
smell they are routinely used in police work. We also know of the
loving companionship that we can have with companion animals. There
are even some cats and dogs who are able to sense cancer in humans.
For the past couple of days, CNN has featured Oscar, a cat who lives
in a Rhode Island nursing home. Because of his ability to sense those
who are about to die, Oscar was featured in an article in the New
England Journal of Medicine. Doctors say that they are not able to
determine when a patient will die as well as some non-human animals can.
In the short time allotted on the program, a psychologist from the
ASPCA did a good job explaining as much as is known about special
abilities of companion animals. However, I found it disturbing that the
woman reporter conducting the interview showed unmistakable bias against
Oscar the cat. Her remarks and body language are appropriate for someone
in the dark ages or witch hunting days. Such words as “grim” and
“creepy” and negative facial grimaces are uncalled for. The program
ended with her male counterpart, a pleasant fellow, teasing her about
what he would give her for her birthday, which brought out more
negativity from her.
A wall plaque in the nursing home publicly commends Oscar for his
"compassionate hospice care.” His curling up next to dying patients has
brought comfort to family members who are notified in time so that they
can spend a few last moments with their loved ones.