Cats and kittens in shelters depend on volunteers. But the coronavirus spread has stopped them from coming to shelters and rescues across the world. Without the loving hands of volunteers, cats and kittens aren’t receiving the level of socialization they were before shutdowns.
Besides the touch and cuddles given by volunteers, cats need to hear the sounds of humans moving about too. Without the volunteers, shelters and rescues have been quiet. And cats and kittens who grow used to quieter environments can turn into spooky felines once exposed to the noises of a forever home.
But Cats Protection Mitcham Homing Centre in London has found an innovative solution to breakup the sounds of silence in the cat kennels.
The Centre shared on Facebook, “As our lovely volunteers cannot come in to help socialise the cats in our care we are working hard to ensure that they are all receiving enough love and suitable entertainment to keep them stimulated.”
With empty halls, socialization and entertainment have gone digital with staff setting up MP3 players in the cat kennels. Not only are cats and kittens hearing the sounds of chirping birds and rainfall, but staff has also added the racket of human life into the mix. By playing noises like laughter, sneezing, and coughing, felines can become accustomed to humans though they have to stay away at the moment.
And, by including the sounds of everyday machinery, like lawnmowers and washing machines, cats can get used to sounds that might otherwise scare them once they’ve been adopted into homes.
Shelter Cats Thrive with Sound
The MP3 program seems to be a smashing success!
Jane Francis, senior cat care assistant for the Mitcham Cats Protection branch, told the BBC, “We have noticed that the cats, and especially kittens, seem to flourish and become more confident after the introduction of sounds.”
She also said, “I know that some people would probably opt for classical music but I thought it would be good to keep it natural and realistic.”
With the cats responding so well, the staff has added cat grass to the kennels. Exploring and munching the grass helps to further expand kitty senses.
“I felt that stimulating as many senses and natural behaviours as possible, without overloading them, could only be beneficial for the cats, especially the more sociable ones, and kittens who are still learning about the world around them.”
Francis explained the sounds levels are kept low, but “they mimic being out in the garden with birds chirping or rain falling, which the cats will experience naturally when they eventually find their new forever homes.”
Truly, a brilliant idea to help cats relax while spending time alone before the humans return.
But the MP3 players run on batteries.
And the Centre has run out.
Staff has put out a request for help on Facebook, “If anyone out there would like to donate some AA batteries it would help with the varied enrichment programme that we presently have in place for our felines”.
If you would like to help the cats get back to listening, check out the Cats Protection Mitcham Homing Centre Amazon Wishlist. Or, visit the Centre’s Just Giving page to donate.