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cats, eh? i mean, who knows? - The Villages

Date: 2007-07-27 00:55
Subject: cats, eh? i mean, who knows?
Security: Public
Mood:very tired, long dayvery tired, long day
Music:sisters of mercy
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I give you Oscar, the New England Cat of Death.
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2007-07-27 03:43 (UTC)
Subject: how's this for a funny coincidence
We were in RI for vacation and visiting relatives. Yes, we went to the nursing home to visit with an elderly relative. Yes, the cat ignored us. (And yes, I played the piano for a half hour.)

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User: hutch0
Date: 2007-07-27 11:08 (UTC)
Subject: Re: how's this for a funny coincidence
That is spooky, isn't it? Considering what happens to people the Cat of Death is interested in, it's probably good that he ignored you.
Sorry I've not been in touch - as I mentioned in my last post I've been having email problems (which I think I can now fix this evening) I've also been trying to finish `Multitude.'
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User: (Anonymous)
Date: 2007-07-27 18:00 (UTC)
Subject: Why can't it be both?
While I agree that anthropomorphizing is fairly useless, theories regarding biochemical sensory phenomena and instinctual spiritual accompaniment are not mutually exclusive things.

The former could be the physical manifestation of the latter; the latter could be the motivation for the former.

Or not.

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hutch0: Sloth
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-07-28 00:19 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Why can't it be both?
*Selkie!!* You're here! Welcome to the quietest part of LJ, an oasis of rustic peace broken only by occasional violently drunken rambles about the media. Pull up a pew and see if there are any interesting beverages in the fridge.

The Cat of Death has had an awful lot of coverage over here. News 24 sent someone to interview the Director of the nursing home and she said that Oscar even follows the deceased out of their room when the EMTs come to collect them.
She also told the story of a resident who, one evening, the staff believed was in her final hours, and Oscar was nowhere to be found. Oscar being something of a tradition by now, someone was sent to find him and bring him to the room. He sort of wandered about for a while and then left.
It was late, the Director left. The next morning she came into work and asked after the resident.
"She died about two o'clock this morning," she was told.
But what about Oscar? she asked.
"Oh, he came into the room about midnight and sat with her until it was over."

I don't know what that cat is doing, but it unnerves me. It's made me look at our three cats in a whole different way.
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hutch0: Sloth
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-07-28 00:35 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Why can't it be both?
For what it's worth, there has been some research recently into using dogs to `sniff out' patients who are suffering from cancer. Apparently this is a real phenomenon and serious people are treating it seriously, so I can't comment.
What Oscar is doing, I don't know. Do people who are dying somehow smell different? Is there some common attitude of body language that a cat can recognise? And if so, why don't all cats do it?
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hutch0: The Cat of Death
User: hutch0
Date: 2007-07-30 22:40 (UTC)
Subject: Re: Why can't it be both?
Keyword:The Cat of Death
The vascular thing is a very real possibility, as I understand it, and not only because of smell but because tumours create vascular hotspots, which presumably dogs and cats can sense.
The doctor who wrote up Oscar for the New England Journal of Medicine is of the opinion that people who are close to death may release a pheremone, which raises the intriguing possibility that there is a quantifiable smell of death. But I repeat: why is Oscar apparently the only one of the care home's numerous cats who does this? I know, you'd go broke trying to work out what motivates a cat, but I'm sincerely fascinated by this story, and not just because it's weird and amusing.

As to why the media gave it such a run over here, who knows? We're just beginning the Silly Season: Wimbledon's over, the England cricket team are as crap as ever, Parliament's about to go on holiday, we needed something weird and amusing to take our minds off the floods.

I'm guessing the Boy Soprano you mention was Aled Jones, who did the songs for The Snowman. It was a better, more innocent time. If you said "Boy Soprano" these days people would naturally assume you meant AJ.
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