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CHICAGO (Reuters) - When Oscar the Cat visits residents of the Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Providence, Rhode Island, the staff jumps into action -- Oscar can sense within hours when someone is about to die.
In his two years living in Steere's end-stage dementia unit, Oscar has been at the bedside of more than 25 residents shortly before they died, according to Dr. David Dosa of Brown University in Providence.
On a particular day detailed by Dr. Dosa, Oscar settled onto the bed of a patient in room 313.
His presence sent staff off to make calls and set up vigil.
When a grandson asked why the cat was there, his mother explained: "He is here to help Grandma get to heaven," according to Dosa's account.
She died a half an hour later.