A shelter in Saskatchewan, Canada, has come up with the purr-fect way to keep shelter cats engaged as they wait for their forever homes.
Last month, the Regina Humane Society launched the iPads for Cats program to help bring a more playful atmosphere to the shelter environment.
“The program is geared towards our younger volunteers, as young as 12 years of age, and represents a nice merger of technology with cat enrichment,” says spokesman Bill Thorn, who shared details of the program via email. “It is just one tool we have to help make the stay at the shelter more enjoyable and less stressful for the cats.”
The infusion of technology, which was first reported in a CBC News story, has become a draw for the volunteers, who use a donated iPad to play games like Cat Fishing 2 and The Cat Game with the cats (both are available in the App store) — but, don’t misunderstand, human interaction is still key for these kitties.
“We still stress human/cat interaction and socialization, which ultimately helps the cats relax and get adopted more quickly,” Thorn tells PEOPLE. “We offer all of our shelter pets toys, games and stimulus that help them utilize their natural behaviors and instincts.”
Play in which the kitties are engaging in the clip above can reduce stress and keep the animals active.
“It is interesting that we have observed some of the younger cats in a communal room will gather around the iPad and play for a bit, but then it can expand to the point where they start playing and wrestling with each other,” Thorn adds, “a nice bonus as the socialization improves between the cats and they get more exercise as well.”
With about 120 cats currently in their care and new kitties coming all the time, more iPads are a hope for 2017. “[We] are hoping that over time others who have older models would be willing to donate them for use in the program,” Thorn says.
To learn how you can donate your iPad, visit the website or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.