How robotic pets are helping UK care home residents

“You’re bloody lovely ain’t you,” said Frances Barrett, as the robotic cat she was stroking flicked its ears and whiskers one lunchtime this week at the Oak Manor care home in Bedfordshire.

The resident was one of several who live with dementia playing with the home’s small menagerie of animatronic animals that were originally designed to entertain American girls aged four to eight but have found a growing market in British care homes. At the other end of the table, Majorie Stephenson tickled her “cat” under its chin, laughed as she scooped it up in her arms and announced: “I’m going to take him home with me and take him for a walk every day.”

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