A PAIR of cats have been bringing joy and fluffy friendship to users of a day centre in Caerphilly County Borough, although these are not your average moggies. The cute, furry pets are actually robotic imitations of the real thing, but thanks to their lifelike movements and sound effects, you’d be forgiven for not being able to tell the difference. The innovative battery-powered felines convincingly meow, purr and even seem to lick their paws.
The lifelike animatronic animals have been responding to the attention of those who attend Springfield Community Resource day centre, Pontllanfraith, which is used by people with leaning difficulties and dementia. The digital pets react to stroking, hugging and even sounds.
Trudy Caswell, Senior Community Service Officer at the centre, said they have been a huge hit, with their soothing purrs and pleasant meows.
“We found that when we introduced them, the people who are here in the centre got great joy from them,” she said.
“They interact with them and carry them around. They make sure they are talking to them so they bring conversation to the day centre. They thoroughly think that they are the family cats now.”
She added: “The reactions to them have been absolutely fabulous. They like to get the brush out and brush them at the end of the day and there are people who like to sit and talk with them all day long."
Since the cats have been such a success, plans are already are afoot to introduce equally hi-tech robotic dogs to the same centre. The pets are made by care-products company Joy For All and could also appear in further care homes.
Councillor Carl Cuss, Cabinet member for Social Care and Wellbeing, added: “These innovative robotic cats are a great addition, bringing comfort and joy to users of Springfield day centre in Pontllanfraith. Caerphilly County Borough Council realises the importance of bringing comfort and reassurance to vulnerable residents and this is helping us achieve that.”