Heartwarming story on how lifelike robotic cats help elderly patients

This is a heartwarming story about a nursing home in Rhode Island who is using lifelike robotic cats and dogs to help comfort elderly patients.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

screenshot from robotic cat YouTube video

Mary Beth Lescault is co-owner of Grace Barker Health in Warren. To make sure patients who were lonely or affected by dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, Mary made the decision to purchase some of the pets from Joy For All Companion Pets made by Hasbro. She’s planning to buy more of the robotic pets for hospice patients.

Tuxedo (Joy for All website)

In an interview with Turn to 10 News Mary stated

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Anxiety - reduce it
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“We had a little lady who pretty much stayed in her room, stayed in bed, and I put it on her and she looked at me and she looked at the cat and she went, ‘He’s beautiful.’ I said, ‘OK, this is really going to work.’ This is someone that had not been particularly verbal.”

photo Joy for All website

Many nursing home residents had pets they loved dearly that were left behind when the resident entered the nursing home. To them, the Joy for All Companion Pets is “company,” as one resident said when asked why she liked her toy dog, Enzo.

photo courtesy Joy for All website

The robotic dogs bark and stand on their hind legs and the cats meow and roll over. They can provide companionship with the worry of having to feed their companion pet or take it to the vet.

screenshot from robotic cat YouTube video

To those who think this idea is far-fetched, think about how many elderly ladies you’ve seen in nursing homes who are caring for a “baby doll.”

The video below is long but very entertaining as an elderly woman is given her very own cat. Caution: This one will make you cry with happiness.

The Joy for All Companion Pets website describes their cats and dogs as

The JOY FOR ALL Companion Pet cats look, feel and sound like real cats. But they’re so much more than soft fur, soothing purrs and pleasant meows. These cats respond to petting, hugging and motion much like the real ones you know and love but don’t require any special care or feeding. This personally rich experience can bring joy and comfort to aging loved ones without any vet bills to worry about.

  • Built-in sensors respond to motion and touch
  • Realistic, soft fur looks and feels like a real cat
  • Cat-like movements and sounds
  • VibraPurr™ sounds and feels like real purring
  • Batteries Included: 4 x 1.5V C Alkaline Batteries

Be sure to read all the 5-star ratings on the website. The cats can be purchased for around $100 each and their website does offer discounts if multiple cats or dogs are purchased.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Elisa Black-Taylor

Elisa is an experienced cat caretaker and rescuer. She lives in the US. As well as being a professional photographer, Elisa has been a regular contributor to PoC for nine years. See her Facebook page.

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1 Response

  1. Jane says:

    I can see this working really well to provide comfort, especially for those with any of the dementing conditions. It would be interesting to see how those who receive these furry friends interact with them when they are alone.

    It can be a thankless task persuading care home owners to allow even one resident cat, dog or rabbit to be a shared companion for residents.

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