This Oregon Library Allows You to Take Out Robot Cats

These companion cats are purrfect for people who are lonely.

Nov 19, 2023


This Oregon Library Allows You to Take Out Robot Cats | These companion cats are purrfect for people who are lonely.

Public libraries are incredibly useful institutions. Where else can you find books, movies, computers, and community rooms. Some libraries even allow you to take out useful items like games, tools, or sewing machines. In the Eugene, Oregon library, you can even take out a cat, reported Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). Well not a real cat, a robot cat that is fluffy and purrs.

Robotic companion cats
There are three robotic cats that are available for circulation, according to Kate Berry, an adult services supervisor with the Eugene Public Library, one for each of the branches. The three cats are black and white and have green eyes.

“They all look the same. But they do have particular names to them. If you’re curious, they’re Bandit, Mr. Pickles, and Percival. Those were chosen by staff,” Berry told OPB.

The cats are typically used as companions for seniors who are suffering from memory loss or are living alone. But anyone can check them out and they have really become a hit with many different demographics, according to the library. The cats soft fur and realistic purrs really mimic the behavior of real cats.

Heather Sears, the children’s services supervisor’s was so enamored with the cats that they now have two for their department because of their calming ability, according to OPB.

“Because they’re really calming,” Sears told OPB. “There’s research that shows cats purring is therapeutic. So we have a kind of quiet room where we have placed one of our cats. Staff have actually really enjoyed that — maybe you had a stressful part of your day or something’s happened and you just need a moment, and you can come hang out with one of our cats that are here that are not circulating.”

The Library of Things
The robotic cats are part of the Library of Things which was developed in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic and the collection is constantly growing. It was initially funded by the Eugene Public Library Foundation. While the staff welcomes suggestions, the library does not accept donated items

“We have ukuleles. But now we’ve added a keyboard, some guitars, tongue drums. We added some educational toys,” said Berry. “We’re kind of thinking of ways to have a lot of things that cover a wide variety of interests while also being able to have those things circulate well to many, many people.”

To date, there hasn’t been an item that no one wanted to borrow. In fact, it is often difficult to keep up with demand.

“Honestly, the hard part is just having enough copies of things and getting stuff out fast enough is usually — it takes a long time to process everything, and so we can only do so many Library of Things items per month,” Sears said.

So if you feel like cuddling a furry cat on a stressful or dreary day, head on over the library and Bandit, Mr. Pickles, or Percival will happily purr in your lap. No cat treats required.

Meet Astro, the Cute New Robot!
How a Robot Helps Kids With Autism Communicate Better
London’s Library of Things Lets You Borrow Hundreds of Items

Bonnie has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.