LONDON — It’s a win-win situation. Children practice their reading while shelter cats get the affection they need.
A photo of a boy reading to a shelter cat was posted to Reddit and has gone viral, raising awareness for the program.
According to their Facebook page, the Berks County Rescue League in the United Kingdom encourages kids to read to the cats as part of their ‘Book Buddies’ program.
Children ages 6-13, who are able to read are invited to the shelter to read to the cats in the adoption room.
The shelter claims the “cats find the rhythmic sound of a voice very comforting and soothing.”
According to TIME, “Book Buddies” started in August 2013, inspired by a fifth grader named Sean, the 10-year-old son of the shelter’s program coordinator Kristi Rodriguez, who was having trouble reading.
The Berks ARL Marketing & Communications Director Beth Ireland told TIME, “We took him to the cat room and said, ‘Why don’t you practice reading here? The cats aren’t going to care if you mess up.”