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Oscar the Cat: Grim Reaper or Angel of Mercy?

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Oscar the Cat: Grim Reaper or Angel of Mercy?

Oscar, the handsome tortoiseshell cat, has a penchant for predicting death. Some call him a cuter, cuddlier version of the Grim Reaper while others prefer to think of him as an Angel of Mercy. Read the story below and tell us what you think!

Oscar resides at the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island, a facility that cares for people with severe dementia. He was adopted by the staff in 2005 to make the Steere House a homier place and to provide a happy distraction for patients and visiting families. However, to everyone’s consternation, Oscar spent more time hiding or sunning himself than socializing with visitors or patients. In fact, he was quite aloof. After a year however, it became apparent that Oscar was destined for a more specialized role: comforting patients in their dying hours.

The staff began to notice that, in between catnaps, Oscar would make his rounds going from one room to another. He would poke his head in the doorway, peek at the patients and sniff the air. He rarely spent much time with anyone — except when they had just hours to live.

Image: Steere House

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Cherise Udell

Cherise Udell is a mom, clean air advocate, anthropologist and feline aficionado with the nomadic habit of taking spontaneous sojourns to unusual destinations. Before her adventures in motherhood, she was an intrepid Amazon jungle guide equipped with a pair of sturdy wellingtons and a 24-inch machete, as well as a volunteer at a rainforest animal rescue center.


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12:35AM PST on Feb 27, 2013

Amazing. Animals are simply amazing gifts

3:26PM PST on Feb 25, 2013

I´ve heard about such a cat before, don´t know it was Oscar or not. What ever he is, I hope, no one beliefes, the presence of a cat could cause a death.

7:57PM PST on Feb 23, 2013

I think this is a wonderful story, and I am glad most people see Oscar as a little furry blessing. Seriously, if he was trying to snuff people, he could just sit on their face with his fuzzy butt! (Sorry!)

3:17PM PST on Feb 23, 2013

You believe what you want to believe but if you cannot see that this is a little Angel of mercy, I fear for you in your last moments.

It is easier to explain everything as common science instead of taking it as a blessing of the heart.

But blessings of the heart are easy to adapt to, you just have to open yours!

If more humans took the time to look around, feel the changes and comfort those who are suffering or dying, the world would be a much better place!

At least some of us are opening their eyes and heart, there is hope yet!

5:15PM PST on Feb 5, 2013

I heard about this cat. no matter what he senses, temperature, chemical or carbon dioxide changes, he gives comfort when people need it most. who cares the mechanism, except that it cannot be easily repeated.

6:41AM PST on Jan 31, 2013

Beautiful kitty, thanks for this article..

8:33AM PST on Jan 21, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

2:10PM PDT on Jun 15, 2012

Oscar, like any other animal, is an animal with intelligence, maybe it was the warmth of the bodies it cuddled until the patient passed away, but I bet you if the patient was still here today, or if they could talk from the grave, they would tell you, that warmth of love caressed me, helped me to remain calm and it was a peaceful and loving touch. Animals are truly our angels and they deserve all the wonderful toys, hugs and kisses in life.

10:17AM PST on Mar 7, 2012

So nice when folks help each other out, regardless of species differences. What a good kitty, and I am glad that the home has his assistance in return for their giving him a home -- and apparently, a job. Hope he lives long and prospers in kitty joy.

10:01AM PST on Mar 3, 2012

Cute kitty :3 Meoooooow :)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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