Eighty-one-year-old woman with mild dementia loves her robot cat
Virginia Smith loves her robot cat. It allows her to express her love for cats. You can see this so clearly. It is such a joy to see. Elderly people who have to live in residential care homes are often taken from the joy of their life: their cat companion.
Virginia had been a cat guardian many years. It was a way of life. Two years ago, with her health deteriorating, she went into an assisted living facility and then moved from her home in Texas into an adult family home in Seattle and had to leave her cat behind.
James, her son, looked into “assisted-living facilities” (what I would call residential care homes) which allowed cats but he appears to have decided against it because, as I understand it, it was impractical for his mother to look after a real cat in a residential care home. He had to find a solution because his mother, he knew, is “super connected to cats”.
Virginia frequently mentioned that she would love to be able to look after a cat. When her birthday arrived James found the answer in a robot cat. He discovered that Hasbro have them for sale at $100. This particular cat appears to be very responsive.
I found the video touching because Virginia’s deep and genuine love for domestic cats is expressed in her relationship with her robot cat. It is clear to me that Virginia needed a way to allow her love for domestic cats to be expressed. It had to be practical and I think that James did a great job in finding this neat solution.
Virginia has said that she is overjoyed with her new cat companion. She said that her cat slept with her all night and purred when she petted his belly. She has called him Robbie.
The only slightly difficult question is whether she will continue to enjoy Robbie’s company as a domestic cat in future days. That will be interesting. Robbie’s limited ability to react may have an effect on the relationship in the long term.
But in the meantime it is wonderful to see this elderly lady happily enjoying the company of her robotic cat companion.
The pictures and video are by James Allen Smith and my thanks to the Irish Times (irishtimes.com).
That’s heart warming and breaking at the same time. I hope James didn’t abandon Virginia’s live cat when she went to the home. She’d digress if she ever found that out.
It’s possible that Robbie may continue to be the best cat as Virginia’s dementia progresses.
You make a good point about Viginia’s previous cat. It is so nice to see her love for cats.