This is a great idea from a Pennsylvania rescue center: Animal Rescue League of Berks County. It places together children between the ages of 6 to 13 and rescue cats. The children read aloud to themselves and to the rescue cats and their voices and their company help the cats.
The rescue cats have the company of a person, which after all is what they are meant to have, and the children have the company of a cat which no doubt helps them feel better and more calm. At the same time they can practice their reading skills.
I am sure there is a lot of good supervision going on to make sure the child behaves appropriately and that the child likes cats. This experience is probably educational for the child. I suspect the cats are selected. That, by the way, if it is true, is perhaps a little unfortunate because the best cats are probably selected when the “bad cats” should be too. There may be a public relations exercise element to this. No matter, I still think it works well.
One of the biggest unavoidable failings of cat rescue centers is that the cats are kept in cages and have limited human contact. It can be stressful and the environment can lead to health and behavior problems which lessen the chance of being rehomed. This idea addresses some of these problems.
I am publishing one picture which was posted by a visitor to Reddit and which is on the igmur.com website. I am sure it is in the public domain because it has been widely circulated. It deserves to be because it is bloody marvellous.
This is the sort of thing we all like to see at rescue centers. Done properly, not only do cat and child benefit, the shelter will certainly benefit too through being able to rehome more cats and receive a lot of good publicity. Unfortunately the shelter has a very slow loading website at the moment. I believe that this is the web address (URL): www.berksarl.org/.
[Note: My thanks to DW for finding the photo.]