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Shelter cats get sound therapy in readiness for rehoming

A cat lies in a guitar case on a busy street cat-happy
© Pixabay

A London cat shelter has taken a novel approach to cat care, which workers think will amply prepare their wards to be rehomed. The results, so far, are extraordinary.

By Nick Whittle

Published on the 22/04/2020, 09:00, Updated on the 08/02/2021, 13:29

Mitcham Homing Centre in South London is using audio therapy to keep their cats calm. And, senior cat care assistant Jane Francis told the BBC, it is also an ideal way to prepare the cats for freedom.

Stray cats and dogs cooped up for long periods of time are unlikely to experience the noise and bustle of everyday life, despite their being visited by carers. So the centre – operated by Cats Protection – has an MP3 installed in each pen from which emanate the sounds of nature.

Cats are treated to “birdsong, rain, trickling streams and general garden sounds,” Ms Francis said. In addition they are played, “sneezing, laughing and coughing” and, on occasion, the sounds of washing machines and lawnmowers: readily associated with life among humans.

According to Francis, her wards appreciate the sounds, and become more sociable after a good dose of ambience. Kittens, especially, seem to react well, and grow in confidence.

Music: the ultimate therapy?

An increasing number of scientists and medics are re-evaluating the part music plays in human medicine. Of the treatment of animals, musical therapy is already being used to calm and to soothe animals both in care and recovering from surgery.

In time, Mitcham's cats will find their forever homes, and with their start in life immersed in sound, they may just be the happiest cats around.

Cotton relaxing to birdsong

We have found that naural sounds have helped many of our cats to settle and relax whilst in the cattery. Young Cotton has been very interested; she also enjoys chewing on cat grass and pouncing on unexpecting toy mice...super cute! :) (sound on for birdsong experience)

Posted by Cats Protection Mitcham Homing Centre on Monday, April 20, 2020