A friend of mine sent me that article. Interesting. Maybe it's smell
My Dad spent the last 3+ years of his life in extended care. The facility has cats. This is the little purrson "on staff" on his floor; her name was Shaughna.
She was a real little sweetie, visited everyone, loved scritches, etc, etc. She had 75 people to look after, so you might not see her for several days, and we hadn't for some time, the day Dad died. They offered us a private room for the last hours, which we knew were upon us. We were barely -- and I mean BARELY -- settled in the new room, when Shaughna marched in, selected a chair, got up and just lay there watching and snoozing. I went over for a scritch once or twice. She accepted but never stirred. When Dad had gone, my brother and sister-in-law went out for a smoke, and I sat with Dad. They were barely out the door, when Shaughna got down from her chair across the room, came over and got up on me, and proceeded to purr up a storm, while she sucked on my shirt -- all attentions she had not offered ever before. Nobody can tell me she didn't know exactly what was going on.
I told one of the nurses about it, and she said, "Oh, yes, she does that every time."
Dumb animals, eh? I don't think so.