28/04/2020 12:00 AM
Cats at a south London rescue centre are being played soothing sounds of nature to help keep them calm.
With the coronavirus lockdown forcing adoption centres to close to visitors, there is less activity to keep the cats stimulated.
But at Cats Protection’s Mitcham Homing Centre, MP3 players in the pens provide sounds such as rainfall and birdsong.
Senior cat care assistant Jane Francis told the Press Association: “We are still here for the cats and to provide as much human contact, play and stimulation as possible, but it is quite quiet here right now.
“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.
“We have noticed that the cats, and especially kittens, seem to flourish and become more confident after the introduction of sounds.”
Usually, the cats’ pens are quite soundproofed to outside noise, with just the faint hum of air conditioning, “which isn’t exactly inspiring for cats or people,” Francis explained.
She added: “I know that some people would probably opt for classical music but I thought it would be good to keep it natural and realistic.
“So I downloaded ambient sounds, such as birdsong, rain, trickling streams and general garden sounds and the cats loved them. Nature and even weather conditions prove the best.
“Sound levels are low and 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, and they would have heard before coming into care.
“It both relaxes them and prepares them for when lockdown is over.”
Other sounds the cats are exposed to include everyday noises such as sneezing, laughing and coughing, as well as letterboxes, washing machines and lawnmowers.
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