July 26, 2007

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty...

Though I'm a sucker for cats, I'm rarely a sucker for cat stories. I'm not enamoured of all those cute kitten pics all over the web - I have two cats of my own who provide endless hours of entertainment. Well, mostly endless hours of sleeping. Doesn't matter; I love my cats. I will tell you yours are cute.

I do, however, love this story of Oscar the cat. Seems the two year old lives in a nursing home in Rhode Island, and whenever someone is about to die, little Oscar curls up beside them for their final couple of hours. It's no fluke; he's done it 25 straight times correctly, and now finds himself in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Apparently, he's a rather pissy little thing otherwise, not your typical cute little pet. Nope. He does rounds, like the doctors and nurses do, makes his selection, and then curls up. And the part I like best? Families are comforted by this. I don't blame them at all. It's like having your own private usher. How wonderful to know your loved one won't die alone. They may die with a crabby little whatsit by their feet, but they don't die alone.

One family didn't want Oscar in the room of the person he'd nominated; he paced and yowled outside the door. Oscar has a job to do, and like most working animals, it is apparently hard to deter him.

I've spent time in nursing homes, and around people who are aware they are dying. I can't think of a place Oscar wouldn't be welcome.

My only itch on this whole thing? My cat, Maggie, sleeps on my feet every night.


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