WHEN a nursing home doctor heard that the resident tabby could sense when a patient was about to die, he was sceptical. But a series of spooky events convinced him the cat might really have special powers. David Dosa is a doctor at Steere House Nursing Home, where patients have Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers, or are terminally ill. One of the homes pets, a cat named Oscar, is special. Dr Dosa believes the tabby can predict the death of patients, seeking them out and remaining with them in their final hours. Here, he explains how Oscar challenged everything he learned at medical school. Cats may have nine lives, but we only have one, and were all terrified to talk about the ending of it. Many of my residents have forgotten almost everything they have ever learned over their lifetimes. They seldom remember the names of their children or the year they were married. Yet they seem to like having pets around. Their love of animals, like their love of babies and music, is one of the last things to go. Perhaps animals provide a connection to the person that they used to be - they are like a bridge back to the world. Oscar was adopted from an animal shelter when he was a kitten, to join the menagerie of pets that we have living at Steere House. When I met him for the first time, he wasnt friendly with me and he wasnt chummy with any of the patients either. He was the type of cat that would hide under the bed or stare out of the window all day long. But then, about six months after his arrival, Oscars aloof behaviour changed. He started to make house calls to fellow residents. Id like to say that I was the first one to notice Oscars peculiar abilities, but I wasnt. It was a summer morning in 2006, when Mary Miranda, the day-shift nurse, called me over. 'David, she said, 'Id like to show you something in room 310. As we walked down the hall, Mary told me a little about Lilia Davis, who lived in room 310. She was about 80 and had colon cancer that had spread everywhere. Given her severe dementia, her family had decided not to treat it. As we walked in the room, we found Mrs Davis lying on her back, her eyes closed, her breathing shallow. Mary pointed to the base of the bed. 'Take a look, she said. As I approached, the head of a black-and-white tabby cat slowly rose up from beneath the sheets. Moving caused the bell on his collar to jingle slightly. The cats ears perked up and he glanced at me with questioning eyes. Then, with a look of resignation, he rested his head back on his front paws and purred softly while he nestled against Mrs Daviss right leg. 'You brought me in here to see a cat? I said. 'I know this is weird, David, said Mary, 'but the thing is, Oscar never spends any time with the patients. He usually goes off and hides, mostly in my office. Lately, though, a couple of us have noticed that hes spending more time with certain residents - patients who are about to die. Now Id heard everything. Mary continued, 'You know, Oscar wandered into another patients room right before she died yesterday. 'Dont get me wrong, I told Mary. 'I love the concept of an animal sitting with me as I die. Maybe he likes the patients who are dying because they dont give him any trouble. Daily Mail