When she was in the hospital, Anne Strieber was visited by a cat who was already dead. Now the New England Journal of Medicine reports about a Rhode Island nursing home cat named Oscar who comforts people who are about to die. Dr. David Dosa says, “He doesn’t make too many mistakes. He seems to understand when patients are about to die.”

Oscar goes to patients who are about to die and curls up next to them during their final hours. He is so accurate that the nursing home staff call family members to come to the patient?s bedside whenever Oscar does this.

In Yahoo News, Ray Henry & Alicia Chang report that “the staff noticed Oscar would make his own rounds, just like the doctors and nurses. He’d sniff and observe patients, then sit beside people who would wind up dying in a few hours.”

We all love cats, but some of us love them more than others. The ancient Egyptians admired them so much that they mummified them. Scientists have finally tracked down the common ancestor of all the different breeds of domestic cat. Ever wonder why so many cat breeds have Asian names like “Siamese?” In LiveScience.com, Jeanna Bryner reports that “domestic cats have been traced back to a single wild ancestor whose relatives still live in the remote deserts of the Middle East today.”

It turns out that housecats have been with us for 30,000 years, from the time when modern humans were just evolving. But as Bryner writes,”What puzzles scientists is this: housecats don’t follow migratory groups. They are attracted to more permanent human settlement by the presence of small animals infesting homes and grain stores. In fact, the relationship between humans and cats would seem to require that there be established settlements in the first place. [So] what was the past really like? This new finding suggests that it might have been very different from what we have assumed.”

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