can Animals detect the Approach of death?

see Oscar the “Death Cat”:http://news.bostonherald.com/localRegional/view.bg?articleid=1013472

can animals detect the approach of death? Seems like a visit from oscar is pretty much the end…would you adopt this cat?

My hypothesis; Oscar likes dying people because they don’t move around much, but still produce body heat (for a while).

Nice story, but by definition it’s anectdotal evidence.

I had a spaniel that barked at the approach of Death.

Then again, she had a general dislike of tall hooded figures in black carrying a scythe.

Several years ago I had a cat that looked exactly like that. His name was Killer.

Cue Twilight Zone theme…

If it’s true it probably has something to do with their smell as the people’s systems shut down.

Or maybe the cat is driving a car the people are riding in.

So the cat is really cuddly when people are dying, but not otherwise? Sounds rather unlikely, I think.

Also:
"He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die,”

Confirmation bias, anyone? How many mistakes has he actually made? How many times has he cuddled up to someone who wasn’t about to pop their clogs?

And what do the non-dying people think of his sudden affection? Do they push him away before anybody else notices, further skewing the results?

I don’t see the problem. I think it would be interesting to know why he seems to cuddle up to people near death, but discerning that they are dying does not seem to be a big problem. Deb very often knows when people are dying when she has visited them. In fact, there is a condition that hospice workers describe as “actively dying.” And Deb occasionally makes mistakes on that point, too. Every once in a while she will determne that a patient is actively dying, only to discover that the patient has had a change of condition and gone on to live several more days or weeks. (It’s hospice: it is pretty rare that they live months longer.) So the conditions that “predict” imminent death do not seem to be identical with the actual onset of death.

Why does the cat choose to snuggle up to those people? I have no idea, although Baldwin might be correct or there might be some other aspect of the situation. (I wonder why the staff shuts him out of the room? I wonder whether if they left him there he would do something that would later explain his behavior. Cats are not carrion eaters, so there does not seem to be any reason to believe he would harm the person or their corpse.)

Animals understand they are spiritual and can know many things unavailable to those that don’t understand. The media is full of animals that exhibit a knowing beyond what we humans think they should.

The dog that warned his owner of a impending seizure. Animals know their owners are returning before they can see them.

I believe the cat understands the impending death and seeks to comfort the individual. One of my cats passed last month, his brother was in another room, sleeping with a family member. He immediately jumped up and let out an awful sad and lonely cry the moment his brother died.

We could take lessons from the animal world.

Indeed. As a cyanobacterium and member of Kingdom Monera, I’ve always admired and envied the abilities of animals, particularly humans. (Well, most of them. Multicellularism seems wasted on a few.)

We now return to Crossing Over with Smarty Jones.

my hypothesis: Oscar can kill you by sitting near you for 4 hours.

(Why can I picture a scene of a hallway in a nursing home where a bunch of senior citizens run screaming as a group back and forth across the hall as a cat slowly follows them room to room like a bad Benny Hill skit)

“Woof! Dude! Yer actin’ WEIRD!” Sorry, but my daughter often exhibits recognizable behavior minutes, even hours, before a seizure. There’s nothing spiritual in a dog noticing it, too.

But not before they can hear the distinctive creak of Daddy’s front suspension? I’ve gotten car repairs that caused my dogs to not recognize my car until they relearned its sounds. Many animals have better senses than humans–plain ol’ one-though-five, not including six–and to attribute an action to some extra sense when it is easily explained by something else is silly and indicates a lack of reasoning ability that can be learned, were one so inclined.

That could be. I also don’t consider some of the higher animals completely lacking in understanding of death, though I assume it’s a very simple understanding more like their association of the jingle of your car keys with you going away, possibly forever (animals suck at understanding the passage of time) and oh-dear-God you’re not taking me and I’ll never see you again!

I have learned that one can have a full night’s sleep and still nap most of the day, waking only for meals, going to the bathroom, and vitally important goofing off. They could learn from me that it isn’t necessary to bark at everybody on a bicycle.

If you can lick your own ass go for it.

Touche’! My hypothesis is : Oscar is employed by a local undertaker. But you are right-having Oscar follow you around is very scarey!

Like I said in the other thread, the cat knows a potential meal when he sees one.

Cats are unsentimental that way.

I have tried to figure out what this is refering to, but no luck. Can anyone help me out here?
As to the OP, I would guess there are likely subtle clues of impending death the cat is able to pick up on. Perhaps a certain smell from the body as the last of the vital functions cease. The cat notices the correlation between that smell and then lots of activity in the room as nurses and visitors tend to the body and then it is taken away. So when he notices the smell, he sticks around to watch the ensuing commotion.

Yeah, but Larry King has slipped a lot lately.

A spinoff of the show Crossing Over with John Edward in which the cold-reading “psychic” is replaced as host by the 2004 Kentucky Derby-winning racehorse.

Preliminary talks are said to be stalled over Edward’s holding exclusive rights to portray horseshit as psychic ability on television.

Yeah we could, but I wouldn’t hold your breath. Too many think they are the center of the universe for any crazy nonsense like that.

Well, it is certainly true that each of our cats believe themselves to be the center of the universe.