Resident, Sandra Irwin, has a special feline friend to keep her company in Heathlands Village and one which the home is delighted to welcome.

“Blossom is my baby – she’s so well behaved but she does sometimes get into mischief!” she says. “I’ve had her for a while.  She finds a space on the bed at night and curls up next to me.”

For a pet cat, Blossom is surprisingly tolerant of being passed from person to person – but that’s because she is not your average moggy but in fact a state-of-the-art robot pet.

Her lifelike breathing, movements and meowing are designed to provide engaging stimulation to people who are living with memory loss or dementia.

The success of the animal has been obvious, according to Shift Leader, Lynda Parton: “Our residents absolutely love the similar cat we keep in our Activity Centre,” she said.

“It originally belonged to Sandra, so when it became a permanent feature in the Activity Centre, we made sure to replace the one she had. She adores it – they all do.”