Are there cats in heaven?
There have been cats in the news a lot lately, so I thought I’d take a break from the increasingly depressing headlines and cover a few cat stories. Granted not everyone likes cats, but no one is perfect. They are far more evolved than humans in almost every respect, the only thing we have going for us is the swelling at the end of our spinal cord. And the jury is still out on whether or not that is a good thing.
First a story of cat heroism by a fearless orange tabby. (My orange tabby assures me that all orange tabbies are fearless.) Their bright colour astounds and blinds their enemies, I mean, how many orange animals are there? Besides tigers, who are just basically overgrown orange tabbies? In the picture above, Jack, a cat in New Jersey, twice treed a black bear that made the mistake of entering his yard. The bear was only able to escape after his people locked Jack in the house. OK, a case can be made that orange tabbies aren’t fearless, they are stupid. I mean, a bear? My black cat attacks dogs, but I think he would be bright enough not to chase a bear. I hope. I think Jack is lucky he didn’t get to prematurely investigate the cats in heaven issue.
Next an interesting story out of Rhode Island, USA, where a cat named Oscar can apparently tell when a patient in a nursing home is going to die. Normally he isn’t the friendliest cat, but a few hours before their death he curls up with the soon to be deceased. While this is comforting to some, some families have asked that the cat be removed so they can spend the last hours alone with their loved one. Oscar apparently paces the hall outside the door meowing in protest when this happens. While he is not always accurate, he has been right 25 times so far. So much so that staff of the nursing home calls families when Oscar curls up with their relative.
Is Oscar psychic? Can he predict the future? Doubtful. There is probably a biochemical explanation, IE people start to smell different as their body starts to shut down. Or there is some other subtle cue he is picking up on. While of interest, this is going to be something that is tough to study in the lab, so it’s unlikely that this story will be anything but a curiosity. Still, who knows, if we could tell when someone was starting to die, maybe they could be saved? It certainly presents some intriguing possibilities, and shows that their is much still to learn about how the world works.
This reminds me of a similar story a few years back. An old fellow in a nursing home was adopted by a kitten, who lived with him for two years, hardly ever leaving his side. They were the best of buds, then the guy died, his kitty curled up beside him. Shortly thereafter, the attending family realized that the kitty had also died. Coincidence? Certainly an amazing one if so, and a sad but touching story in any event. I like to think that our animal friends will join us in heaven. It wouldn’t be heaven if they didn’t, would it?
Are there animals in heaven? Beats me. I hope I find out some day, I don’t want to spend eternity with the bad Lassie, you know, the one that bit Timmy. Though I suppose if one was in the bad place and there were bad animals there, it would be comforting to know that the good cats were up in Heaven. Soiling God’s potted plants when he wasn’t looking. Fertilizing plants is a good thing, right? By that standard, all calicos go to heaven.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. And yes, the bad Lassie joke was ripped off from the Simpsons. Image credit: AP)