Among the comments on the NPR blog:
The intensity of the metaphysical changes that occur prior to death are, I'm sure, perceivable by the sense of an animal who relies wholly on not just human like senses, but extraordinary abilities of perception and the nature of SURVIVAL...all beings most basic instinct.
This story didn't surprise me. My husband, David, and I married in 2000. When we moved in together I brought my cat, Crackers, with me. David (a life-long "dog person") had been trying to make friends with Crackers for almost a year, but the cat remained loyal only to me. That's why we were so surprised one Sunday afternoon (just days before our first anniversary) when Crackers suddenly took an interest in David. The cat started following him around the house and insisted on being in David's lap. At one point, Crackers was literally circling David when he sat on the edge of the bed. Moments later, David began to complain of an ache in his back between his shoulder blades and fullness and pressure in his chest, and I could see that he suddenly started perspiring heavily and appeared to be having trouble breathing. It was obvious that David was in distress, so I got him into the car and rushed him to the hospital.
Sure enough, the doctors at the hospital told me my new husband was having a heart attack and would need emergency surgery.
I'm happy to report that my dear husband recovered from what we now refer to as his "big adventure" and he is doing very well today.
After David came home from the hospital and we were reflecting on those moments before he fell ill, we agreed that Crackers' sudden change in behavior could only mean that the cat could sense that David was about to have, or was having, the heart attack.
Naturally, since that "big adventure," David and "Dr." Crackers have been great friends.