When a robotic cat can give joy and companionship as well as the real thing

This is a story about a woman who found joy in a robotic cat after the loss of her cat companion. And I think it points to some situations when robotic cats can perform a function which is superior to the real thing. The truth is that people can become attached to robotic pets that are sufficiently lifelike particularly if the person involved perhaps has intellectual disabilities or perhaps a head injury or they might be autistic or simply elderly with dementia of some kind.

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Linda Williams with her robotic cat which pleases her
Linda Williams with her robotic cat which pleases her. Image: WIS 10.

Tri-Development Centre of Aiken County runs a program with a mission to provide, promote and coordinate community services in that county for individuals with "autism, head and spinal cord injuries and intellectual disabilities". South Carolina Department of Ageing runs a program to help people who are socially isolated. 

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Linda Williams has been provided with a robotic cat by the organisers of the Tri-Development Center. 

Linda said:

"She makes me feel good. I’m going to hold you up so they can see you."

The lead residential service provider in this program, Precious Green, said that she was happy that Linda Williams is happy with her robotic cat. Obviously, it is much easier for the organisers to take care of a robotic cat. 

There's none of the usual issues such as dealing with cat litter and feeding a cat. There is no possibility of cat scratching or biting. There is an instant connection between person and robotic cat which can be quite different to the real thing because it takes time for them to get used to strangers sometimes.

And under these circumstances it can work beautifully as Linda Williams loves her cat companion. There is, I feel, a place for these sorts of devices which provide companionship. 

It's a device on which a person can off load their need to love somebody or even something. It's a recipient of love and if the device makes the right sounds and is reasonably accurate in terms of appearance then it works. It should not be laughed at as some sort of ridiculous concept.

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