Kids read to cats and everybody wins


Hats off to the Animal Rescue League in Birdsboro, Berks County, Penn., for their Book Buddies program. The program brings kids to the shelter to read to cats waiting for adoption. The kids, ages 6-13, get to practice their reading with non-judgmental listeners and the cats are soothed by the affection and attention. What a wonderful idea! Everybody wins. Shelters across the country should consider doing this for both cats and dogs.

For a history and description of the program and more pictures, visit the ARL website.

This picture from ARL was posted to Reddit by user dagorlad and has since gone viral.

8 thoughts on “Kids read to cats and everybody wins

  1. beautiful. i’ve heard of this for children on the autism spectrum, e.i. kids and those who struggle with reading. they read to dogs and all of their inhibitions go away, they gain confidence, and the dogs will listen endlessly. both the children and the animals benefit from the one on one time.

    1. The program was started by a woman whose child had reading difficulties, when she realized that his reading to a cat one day seemed to be helping him. As the owner of both a dog and a cat, I know they would love such attention.

  2. What a great idea PT! And it may have just given me one too. I’ve been wanting to get a cat for a long time but haven’t because I feared I just wouldn’t be an attentive enough friend. The thing is I’ve always wanted someone to read out loud to as well (my ex-wife’s disapproval of so many of my reading choices just ruined that for me and my kids). I never occurred to me that a cat would actually sit while I read to it. Better yet, it couldn’t possibly disapprove of my choice of books! 😀

    1. A shelter can help you choose a cat that will dote on your every word, rather than one that tends to be aloof. But in my experience, they all love attention, they all enjoy the sound of your voice and the fact that you are another living creature (and notably, He Who Feeds).

  3. This is really better than the programs that have owners bring “therapy” dogs to the library. The cats really need the attention, and no doubt adore the kids.
    Probably less fussy about dogs getting bathed, teeth brushed, nails buffed, and all the hand wiping of both dogs and kids afterwards with anti-bacterial wipes each time. (Can adults ruin every experience?)

    1. It looks like here the kids get more “private time” with the animals than they would at their schools or other public places. I think that’s an important part of helping those with reading problems feel less self-conscious and more relaxed. Only non-judgmental kitties are listening.

      And yes, sometimes adults should just back off and let the good things happen.

... and that's my two cents