Oscar the Death Kitty is no more?

Blog friend Abel over at Terra Sigillata pointed me to a story claiming that Oscar the Death Kitty, who became famous (or notorious) for his alleged ability to detect the impending death of residents of the nursing home at which he lives, so much so that some of the staff had even started calling family to tell them that time was short whenever the Grim Reaping Kitty curled up with their loved one, is no more:

PROVIDENCE, RI – Oscar, the nursing home cat who could seemingly sense the impending death of patients, was found dead early yesterday. The cat gained recent notoriety when reports of his ability to detect the impending death of the terminally ill became public. Seemingly aware that death was at hand, Oscar would reportedly climb into the bed of patients during their final hours.

Officials at the facility would not reveal the cause of death, but did acknowledge rumors that the cat was becoming increasingly unpopular among the patients. One knowledgeable source – who agreed to speak with us on the condition of anonymity – confirmed increasing animosity toward the animal, and that a dented bedpan was found near the body.

According to our source, the recent publicity of Oscar’s unique insight spread quickly throughout the facility. Patients in the terminal ward became increasingly upset at the sight of the cat, prompting administrators to move Oscar to another floor. After an unexpected death on that floor, Oscar quickly became quite unwelcome there too.

I was afraid this was going to happen. Maybe that was confirmation bias too. Whatever the case, Scamp had better watch his back.


  1. #1 Stuart Coleman
    August 19, 2007

    So someone murdered a cat because they thought it could predict death? How stupid and inhuman are people?

  2. #2 Vitum Medicinus
    August 19, 2007

    Not sure how reliable The Daily Redundancy is as a source…
    …considering their slogan is “the standard of excellence in pseudojournalism.”

    However, their other headlines are funny, in an Onion-esque sort of way:
    “Study: Nearly Half Of All Students Below Average”
    “Promising Breakthrough In Flatulence Research”
    “Pentagon Leaks Canadian Invasion Plans”

    Then again, maybe I simply refuse to believe the last one. And thats why I – and my fellow Canadians – would never see it coming.

  3. #3 Romeo Vitelli
    August 19, 2007

    Nobody is considering the possibility of suicide? Hanging around dying people all the time can be pretty depressing.

  4. #4 Stuart Coleman
    August 19, 2007

    D’oh Orac, this is the last time I don’t thoroughly fact-check something I see on your blog, this is almost certainly a spoof, and I’m getting railed at my blog for it. I feel a bit better that I just took it uncritically from you. Oh well, such is life.

  5. #5 Orac
    August 19, 2007

    Uh, Stu, you did notice that one of the tags on this entry was “Humor,” didn’t you? I was well aware that it was a spoof, hence my little crack about confirmation bias. If it were a real story and Oscar really had been killed by one of the nursing home residents, even though I’m not a cat person and don’t actually like cats all that much I wouldn’t have treated the whole thing in such a light-hearted manner.

    Besides, if the “dented bedpan” bit and the rest of the website didn’t tip you off that it was a spoof, that’s not my fault.

  6. #6 Stuart Coleman
    August 19, 2007

    No, I read things in Google Reader and tags aren’t displayed, I never see them. I guess I just missed your (and Abel’s) snark (and I still don’t see it, actually), as did all the people who commented saying it was a spoof (Abel seemed to have more than you).

    But these things happen, everyone looks like an idiot at some point (probably because we all are), and today’s my day. It’s also my day to mow the lawn, better go do that.

  7. #7 Robster, FCD
    August 19, 2007

    The thing that made this a good spoof was the fact that previous legit stories mentioned that the oldsters already were uneasy with the cat.

    My first thought was that the cat had been hanging around itself, and predicted it’s own death…

  8. #8 Abel Pharmboy
    August 19, 2007

    Although the article was a ruse, it gave me a great laugh because all of my late grandparents were ornery enough that they would be suspected of killing such a cat with a bedpan.

  9. #9 grasshopper
    August 19, 2007

    Oscar is dead?
    Was he given a CAT or PET scan to confirm the diagnosis?

    Orac, I am trying to decide if this spoof was delivered deadpan or bedpan .

  10. #10 Chas Dean
    August 19, 2007

    …as Douglas Adams remarked, “No one likes a smart arse”.

  11. #11 Nat
    August 19, 2007

    Reminds me of the reputed exchange during a recent U2 concert in Australia.

    Bono starts up a slow clap and then says “everytime I clap another child in Africa dies!”

    Some Australian wag yells back “stop clapping then you bastard!”

  12. #12 notmercury
    August 20, 2007

    So there’s nothing to the rumor of an elderly woman curled up near Oscar’s bed before he died?

  13. #13 "GrrlScientist"
    August 21, 2007

    uh oh. an MD with a morbid sense of humor .. damn, orac, you just kill me!

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