A different take on Oscar the Kitty of Doom


(LOL Oscar from Lauren.)

While I expressed skepticism the other day regarding the media reports that a cat named Oscar could predict which patients at the nursing home in which he resides were within hours of death, some of you believed it, some even going so far as to speculate that not only could Oscar detect impending death but that he hangs out by the dying because he wants a snack.

But none have gone so far as Mighty Ponygirl in speculating about Oscar’s true motivation.

Personally, I like my explanation that it’s just confirmation bias better. It’s less–shall we say?–disturbing. I also tend to agree with Clark about the potentially pernicious effects that the belief among the nursing home staff in Oscar’s predictive ability could have on patient care.

Another pernicious effect is that the staff now call the families of patients to whom Oscar pays attention to tell them that they should come in because their loved one’s death is imminent. In other words, the staff is starting to base health care decisions (whether to call family or not) on the cat’s behavior. If that were my relative in the nursing, my first question would be: Why do you think death is imminent? If they told me it was because the cat was curling up with him or her, personally, I’d start looking for another nursing home.