Published: 09:56, 03 May 2021
| Updated: 10:04, 03 May 2021
A group of scaredy cats are having stories read to them by carers to boost their confidence and help them be around people.
The five nervous moggies were rescued from a house in Tunbridge Wells where they had been left to fend for themselves along with eight other abandoned felines.
Now these bookworm Toms are having books such as the feline fantasy series Warrior Cats read to them by staff and volunteers so they can be rehomed.
Neglected Lily, Babs, Pickle, Nutmeg and Basil were rescued by the RSPCA last month after being found in the property where a total of 13 cats lived.
When the previous owner of the cats went into hospital no one looked after them and they had to be rescued by the animal charity.
Living in a home with such a large number of mousers also meant they did not get the attention and socialisation they needed so have become very wary of humans, the RSPCA said.
So to gradually earn their trust and get them used to human contact again, the staff and volunteers at the Bluebell Ridge Cat Rehoming Centre in Hastings, East Sussex, have been reading to them every day.
Myra Grove, centre manager at the Hastings branch, said: “Sadly, the previous owner of these cats had gone into hospital and no one had been looking after them for several weeks before the RSPCA were alerted.
“As they’ve had a tough start in life, we’ve been working hard to socialise these cats and have taken a hands-off approach which means we’ve been sitting with them and reading to them so that they can start to get used to human company.
“We have already seen some fantastic improvements with some of the cats who are gaining confidence and starting to accept human interaction which has been amazing to see.”
The staff have been reading a collection of books called Warrior Cats, a feline fantasy series by Erin Hunter, to help the nervous cats get used to their voice and have some hands-off interaction with people.
“They have all come on leaps and bounds since they first came in to us and reading to them is really helping build their confidence. We thought it was only right to treat them to stories about cats too.”
All the cats will need a home with just adults who are "patient and loving", with no other pets so their confidence can continue to grow, the RSPCA said.
Nutmeg is a white and tortoiseshell female cat, who is around four-years-old and she is looking to be rehomed with her pal Basil, who is a white and black male cat aged around one-year-old.
Myra said: “Basil needs more time to learn to trust people, although he has begun to settle down to sleep while a member of the team quietly sits with him.
“Nutmeg will stay while a member of the team talks and reads to her, but she's not ready for contact just yet so it’s likely to be a slow process.”
The centre is looking for Lily, Pickle and Babs to be rehomed together as the three female cats are very close, she added.
Babs is the black and white long-haired cat, Lily is the black shorthaired cat and Pickle is the black and white short hair. They are aged between two and four-years-old.
Myra added: “Babs is the first to have built enough trust to actively enjoy a fuss. When it's quiet, she'll happily roll around and even hold out a paw for more. Lily's improving at her own pace.
“She will gently doze off whilst the staff at the animal centre read to her, and she is becoming more curious. Sadly, Pickle is finding it a little harder which is why she would benefit from the confidence of being with the other two.
“She's comfortable while a member of the team sits and talks to her, but hasn’t yet actively reached out for fuss.
“Any adopter will need to be patient and kind with these nervous cats and understand that they may never be soppy lap cats but they will make fantastic companions and their confidence is improving all the time.”
Anyone interested in adopting Lily, Pickle, Babs, Basil or Nutmeg can contact RSPCA Sussex East and Hastings branch on 01424 752121.