Oscar the cat has generated a lot of warm-hearted, “Oooh! Isn’t he wonderful?” type of responses over the last couple of days as his story appears to have invaded every TV newsroom from California to Timbuktu.
Now, cats are a favorite here at Sparrow Chat, but isn’t Oscar’s ability to seek out a dying human just a trifle spooky?
The cat was adopted by the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Rhode Island when he was a kitten, and has been there ever since. While generally shirking the attention of inmates, Oscar homes in on those at death’s door, curls up beside them on the bed, and waits patiently for the moment of passing.
Various explanations have been forthcoming from the so-called “experts”, ranging from the psychic to the biochemical. Personally, none of them appear very plausible.
There is another, somewhat less heart-warming explanation.
Domesticated carnivores are the descendants of wild animals, and while cats are basically hunter predators, they’ll not turn up there noses at scavenging for carrion, particularly when prey is in short supply. Just as vultures appear from nowhere when an animal is succumbing in the desert, a more logical possibility is that Oscar is simply responding to latent, ancient, instincts.
He can smell approaching death, and with it the possibility of a good meal.
Filed under: Survival instinct