If you google Oscar the Cat, a Wikipedia page about Oscar may be the top result. Oscar is one of the many examples of how incredible pet therapy is, and the ongoing need for these programs. Since 2005, Oscar has been living in the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, U.S. Steere House adopted Oscar, along with five other cats, and is now billed as a “pet friendly” facility.
Despite being described as “not a cat that’s friendly to people” Oscar would sometimes hiss at guests when he wanted to be left alone. But after 6 months of living on the premises, Oscar often chose to stay with residents who would end up dying several hours after his arrival. He would share the last bit of time a patient had on earth, offering them comfort and love as he napped near them. One staff member stated that “the cat isn’t consistently there first, but always manages to make an appearance, and it seems to be in the last two hours” before the patient passes.
As of 2015, Oscar had accurately predicted over 100 deaths. It became so noticeable, that if Oscar visited a patient, nurses would let family members know that it could be time to give a final goodbye to their loved ones. It was said that Oscar could tell from either the lack of motion from a patient, or a biochemical odor that is released into the air that humans cannot smell but felines can pick up on. This has not been proven.
Oscar the Cat has inspired research to be conducted by scientists, has been the character in children’s books, even referenced in movies and tv shows. But overall, Oscar the Cat was there. He was sometimes the last one to be with terminally ill patients, adding comfort and rest to their final hour.
As we acknowledge pet therapy heroes, we’d like to shine some light on the Pet Therapy Programs of Nemours Hospital for Children. Pet Therapy Programs help children and families handle stress, gain confidence, offer companionship, and safeguard overall health and well being. WJBR is proud to host Nemours Help Our Kids Radiothon this September, which will raise money and donations to benefit Nemours Hospital for Children and the programs, like pet therapy in which they provide. If you wish to donate now, you can on our website, by clicking here.
You can also donate to the Nemours Pet Therapy Programs by rounding up any purchases made at local Concord Pet Stores.