Paws for some quiet reading with furry friends at Shrewsbury cat charity

Volunteers at a Shropshire cat charity have celebrated the success of an event that saw visitors reading to chilled-out felines.

Susie Phillips reading to Jinxie, who is 14
Susie Phillips reading to Jinxie, who is 14

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, children and adults from across the county sat down for some quiet reading time with the four-legged residents at Shropshire Cat Rescue in Bayston Hill.

It comes as part of the Book Buddies initiative by the cat charity to encourage people to read, while also providing a personal and intimate experience for visitors and cats.

Susie Phillips, a volunteer at the rescue centre said: "We had the first one on Saturday and it was amazing. It was exactly what we wanted it to be.

"People were able to come along and read to the cats and there was an extra buzz around the place.

"Even our cats that aren't really keen on interactions were coming up and sitting next to people and listening to them read.

"It was lovely to see the cats snuggling in to the books – and these are the cats that usually when there's more people, it gets too much for them."

Marion Micklewright, who co-founded Shropshire Cat Rescue in 1991, had the idea for the Book Buddies sessions around four years ago when she read an article on its benefits.

Around the start of the Covid pandemic, Marianne approached schools and community groups about the idea, but there were some cost issues with transport.

Teachers from participating schools praised the idea – and some said that they'd never heard some of their students read before, which proved to volunteers how valuable it was.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020 and Government restrictions on gathering were put in place, further development of the Book Buddies was put on hold.

Now, the team are working on a grant application so that they can cover travel costs for community groups and schools who would like to visit the centre.

They are also looking for more volunteers to help them on select days in the month when events are held and have asked anyone who might be interested to get in touch.

The charity has a selection of books, some of which have been donated by local authors, but visitors can also bring their own book to read at the sessions.

"We would love to do it once a month but we really need volunteers, so we are calling out to them so they can help us do events like this," Susie added.

To make an enquiry about the Book Buddies sessions or for volunteering opportunities, contact

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