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Oscar, the cat that predicts death
Buckwheat, from Seattle
While Oscar of Rhode Island (above) has become famous for his activities and now even has a book written about him, it is not so well known that there's a cat performing similar duties on the other side of the USA, in the west-coast city of Seattle.
Buckwheat is a red tabby who was donated to the Providence Mount St Vincent nursing and retirement home in the city in about 2004, when the lady he belonged to became ill and could no longer look after him. His exact age is not known, but in 2010 he was thought to be around 13 years old.
Like Oscar, Buckwheat seems to know when a resident is close to death. He does his best to comfort the person by climbing on the bed, curling up there, nuzzling them and staying with them throughout the dying process. He often remains until the mortician arrives. Care-home staff believe that his presence is more effective than morphine in calming the patient.
Sceptical people might think that the cat is just seeking a warm body to snuggle up to, but hospice staff think there is rather more to it, as Buckwheat has correctly predicted more than 30 deaths. It might be thought that dying people would want to avoid his attention, but that doesn't seem to happen; he has been described not as a grim reaper, but a 'furry little angel'.
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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is now no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.
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Page created December 2007, with later revisions and additions