City buys companion cats for Peace Villa patients

Fort St. John city council approved Monday a $1,000 grant to sponsor five robotic cats for patients at Peace Villa. The cats, $200 each, are used to support non-verbal seniors and those suffering from dementia.

Coun. Lilia Hansen put forward the idea, after learning about them from Save Our Northern Seniors, a local advocacy group. The robotic cats sport life-like fur, meow, and even purr. There are some already available at the care home, but sharing is limited because of COVID-19.

“What’s neat about this, there’s some residents that aren’t verbal, and they just put the kitty cat on their lap, and they start petting it and they start talking to the cat,” Hansen said.

“There’s other residents, they get really attached to the kitty cats, and they like to keep them in the room. If they have to step out for the moment, they’ll ask one of their neighbours if they can mind the cat while they’re not there. It’s amazing how something so simple can a lot of joy and help with that social isolation.”

“It’s amazing how something so simple can bring a lot of joy and help with that social isolation, some residents get very attached,” said Hansen.

SONS has already sponsored a few cats, as has Sunrise Rotary. And last week, Michael Champ and Trynna Dion donated one, and are continuing to raise funds for more at their pub in Charlie Lake.

“We’re all affected somehow by Alzheimer’s,” said Dion. “We personally are in our family, and when Margaret (Little) approached us about bringing these in, we wanted to be a part of it. These have a real effect.”

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