Cat comforts elderly people when sensing death is near

Compassionate kitty keeps patients company in final hours

Updated: 
Cat Comforts Elderly People at Bedside When Sensing Death Is Near

There are lots of animal rescue stories on the net - but not so many about cats helping humans. Meet Tom, the compassionate kitty with a very special gift.

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Tom volunteers at Salem VA Medical Center in Virginia, US, where he brings joy to many of the hospital's veteran residents.

According to staff, the tabby cat has a sixth sense and always seems to know who he needs to spend time with and goes to them at the right moment. Tom is said to cuddle up beside patients when their end is near, bringing them comfort during the last few hours of life.

The hospital's chief of extended care service, Dr. Blake Lipscomb, told TODAY that Tom stood by him one day when he had to officially pronounce a veteran dead.

"Tom looked up at me and meowed. He had been with the veteran and his family at a time that was hardest for them, doing exactly what we wanted him to do — to help make a more low-stress, homelike environment."