A US cat that is reportedly able to sense when a nursing home's residents are about to die is baffling doctors. Shipman the cat has a habit of curling up next to patients at the home in Providence, Rhode Island, in their final hours.
According to the author of a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, the two-year-old cat has been observed to be correct in 25 cases so far.
Staff now alert the families of residents when he sits down next to their ailing loved one. James Gilbert was called when the cat sat next to his mother. "I arrived to find the cat on her bed, grinning. Couldn't believe it. Within ten minutes, mum was dead. Very distressing indeed. The cat was right though."
Residents are said to be "Distraught" if the cat comes near them, and two have so far died of shock when the cat jumped up onto their bed.
One resident, who did not wish to be named for fear of reprisals said, "I think we should shoot the damn thing. Creeping about, making people die. It's not right."
Another, who was sick, said "I hope the friggin' thing stays away from me. I've only got a bit of a sniffle, so I'm told. But if that cat comes in, well, it just doesn't bear thinking about. I think Shipman is an odd name for a cat, too."
The nursing home manager, Dennis Nilsen, was not available for comment.