Black and white Fidge was adopted by Wendy Humphries last spring because she could not resist eight-week old kitten cuteness. Little did Wendy know this little bundle of mewing fuzz would save her life six months later.
It all started when Fidge suddenly initiated a new behavior that at first Wendy thought was just humorous. Midge would leap onto her chest and sit squarely on her right breast every night when Wendy lay on the sofa. This continued for over two weeks, every single night.
Wendy decided to go to her GP and have her breast examined. Sure enough, her doctor found a pea-sized lump in her right breast that was cancerous. Her doctor solemnly informed her that had she not come in when she did, the cancer surely would have killed her.
Did Fidge really sense Wendy’s cancer or was this incident merely a coincidence?
As it turns out there are many such stories of cats and dogs sniffing out illness, disorders and imminent death in humans. Dogs can be trained to predict epilepsy attacks and sniff out cancer. In 2011, German researchers provided reasonable proof that dogs can reliably sniff out lung cancer just from breath samples of the inflicted.
Cats have been also known to sniff out cancer and imminent death. Oscar, a confident tortoiseshell cat is the resident feline at the Steere House, a facility that cares for people with severe dementia. He roams the property day and night, but only visits patients in their rooms when they have only hours to live. His predictions have become so accurate that attending doctors and nurses consider Oscar’s bedside presence to be an almost absolute indicator of impending death.
One thought is that Oscar is detecting ketones – distinctly odored biochemicals released by dying cells and Fidge is detecting a different volatile biochemical that is cancer-specific. Whatever the reason for Fidge and Oscar’s observations, they both really do give the term “Cat Scan” new meaning.
As far as Wendy is concerned, there is no doubt in her mind that Fidge detected her cancer and was an angel of mercy: “She saved my life, definitely. No hesitation at all. I am the first one in my family to have breast cancer. I am so glad I got her.”