Soundtracks of birdsong and weather being played at the Mitcham Homing Centre are aimed at preparing kittens and cats for the outside world.
Stressed out cats stuck in care during lockdown are being played soothing sounds of nature to keep them calm.
Staff at the Mitcham Homing Centre in Surrey, run by Cats Protection, have created a playlist to help relax the felines who have been cut off like the rest of the country during the Covid-19 crisis.
Senior cat care assistant Jane Francis said: “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.”
Ms Francis has set up mp3 players in the cats’ pens to enable them to enjoy a variety of sounds such as rainfall and birdsong.
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.”
She continued: “To complete the outdoor theme, the Mitcham team has grown cat grass to put in the pens. Again the kittens loved it, as did a few of the older cats. Some have ignored it – but that’s cats for you.”
A Cats Protection spokesman said: “While it might be cool for cats, Jane’s playlist might not be to everyone’s taste.
“Many cat owners will know that David Attenborough’s wildlife programmes are a firm favourite with their pets who are often drawn to the screen by the power of sound.”
The charity also uses a soundtrack of everyday noises such as sneezing, laughing, coughing, washing machines, letterboxes and lawnmowers to keep kittens content.