Children Read to Shelter Cats

By on 2-14-2014 in Uncategorized

Children Read to Shelter Cats


This is the sweetest thing! Kids going to the shelter to read to kitty cats! Bravo for them!

“At the Animal Rescue League of Berks County in Birdsboro, Pa., schoolchildren are improving their literacy skills by reading books to cats during the Book Buddies program. (Yes, “The Cat in the Hat” is definitely one of the stories, as is “Dogs Can’t Read.”)


As opposed to us humans, the shelter cats are nonjudgmental, and animals can be a source of comfort and support for children as they learn, according to research conducted at Tufts University. And it should be no surprise that having a playful, purring companion around can make reading more fun. 

According to the shelter, the kitties get something out of it too. “Cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing,” reads a post on the Animal Rescue League’s website.

The Book Buddies program was inspired by a Rescue League coordinator’s son, Sean, who struggled with reading until his mom encouraged him to read aloud to the shelter cats. That idea became an official program in August 2013. 

According to this site:

“The program is getting praise from around the Internet—as well as from parents of the participants. “I want to thank you for giving my son the opportunity to participate in a program such as this one,” Katie Procyk is quoted as saying on the rescue league’s website. ‘I believe it truly helps him to not only read, but to help the animals who do not have warm loving homes, and that we must help speak up for the critters who do not have a voice.’The idea for the program came from the rescue league’s program coordinator, Kristi Rodriguez, and her 10-year-old son, Sean. The 5th grader was having trouble reading at school, so Kristi brought him in to practice reading to the cats—and it was an instant success. “We took him to the cat room and said, ‘Why don’t you practice reading here? The cats aren’t going to care if you mess up,’” the organization’s communications director, Beth Ireland, told Time.”

I think this is truly awesome and would love to see more shelters implement such programs, and with more ages. If one in five high school graduates is illiterate, how about including teenagers? It would double as an education in humane behavior.2D11613291-today-cats-reading-140212-04.blocks_desktop_large

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  1. This is particularly cool because often when children are brought in to socialize animals, they just want to play and roughhouse, which would most likely just freak the poor animals out and potentially cause the exact opposite of what's desired. But by just sitting still and reading, the child's attention is not even really on the animal, which allows it to relax and get comfortable with the presence of a human.

    Very neat program, I too would love to see it expand!

    • Agreed, it's a great way for the cats to get comfortable with humans without necessarily being the focus of rowdy kids!


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