Meet Phyllis – the Robocat.
She is the latest bit of high technology bringing joy to the lives of Lancashire pensioners.
She is currently delighting the elderly users of The Leyland Centre, a day centre which provides activities and support for the elderly.
Phyllis is cute and cuddly and behaves in much the same way as a real cat. She washes her face, rolls over to let you stroke her tummy and even meows and purrs. Unlike a real cat, she doesn’t trigger people’s allergies, need feeding or need the litter tray.
Research shows that robotic cats like Phyllis – donated to the centre by the Rotary Club of South Ribble – are ideal for helping older people or people with dementia. They encourage people to socialise, keep people calm and help combat feelings of loneliness and isolation.
Caroline Wilson, the county council’s day centre officer at The Leyland Centre, on King Street, Leyland, said: “The people who come here think Phyllis is wonderful.
“It’s great to see their expressions. They can tell she’s not a real cat, but they get a lot of comfort from her, she’s proving a real hit.
“She helps people as they talk about cats or other animals they have had to the other centre users, as they hold and stroke her. The purring, meowing and movement of the cat is also very calming and she is great fun.
“We’re always looking for different activities for people who come to our centres and a robotic cat is something really innovative.
“Thank you to the Rotary Club of South Ribble for donating Phyllis.”
Tony Stevens, vice president of the Rotary Club of South Ribble, said: “We thought the robot cat would be a good comforter, would help people to keep calm and be something for people to look after.
“I’m blown away by people’s reaction at The Leyland Centre. They have taken to the cat even better than I thought and have even picked the name Phyllis.”
For more information about The Leyland Centre and other county council day centres, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk and search for ‘care services we provide’.