For every person who feels vaguely creeped out by the idea of a cat who can predict your death hours before it occurs, there’s another who finds the idea appealing, even comforting. I happen to be one of those people.
I first read about Oscar, the so-called “angel of death cat” a year or two ago, when the staff at the nursing home where he lives began making the allegations that Oscar can predict when a patient in their nursing home is hours from death. At that time, it seemed that more than a few folks found the whole situation unsettling. Apparently one of the doctors working in the facility shared those concerns, as he has written a book, Making Rounds With Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat, where he shares his experiences with Oscar and the families of patients who have come to know him.
Should the day come when I need some sort of formal palliative care, I could only hope to be so lucky as to find myself in a facility that housed an animal such as Oscar (or any animal, for that matter). To know that a member of a species I’ve spent decades trying to honor, protect and extol the virtues of would be at my side in my hour of need would, to me, be the perfect closure of the circle of life we so easily wax poetic about when speaking in the abstract.
A few years ago Weebles decided to start sleeping on my pillow when we go to bed. As I prefer more than a six-inch square space to use for my head, I added an additional pillow to the bed, just above the one I desperately try to use for myself, shifting my body down ten inches or so to accommodate her sleeping space. While she does eventually scootch over to her primary pillow, when the lights initially go out and she settles in, part of her body must be touching part of mine, or no one’s getting any sleep at all.
I used to find it obnoxious behavior on her part. I get up early, work all day, get home and spend time with the little buggers in the evenings --- can’t I even go to bed without further overt declarations of their possession of me?
As weeks turned to months, then months to years, I see it differently now. I know her “bed dance” will only last five minutes or so, as she kneads her pillow, my pillow and my husband’s pillow (if she can get away with it) into the perfect pile for flopping down for the night and that, once properly flopped, she will begin her evening serenade.
Funny thing about sharing a pillow with a cat. When they purr, you not only hear it, you feel it though the fibers of the pillow, caressing your mind with its gentle vibrations, lulling you into the twilight place between wakefulness and sleep. I’ve come to appreciate the value of outward manifestations of inward contentment as the last dance of another long day.
Would that I could be so fortunate to have that same song play me off the stage.