Three hours of soothing feline sound therapy is delivered on a flash drive. They play on computers, in cars with USB ports (great for trips to the vet), on iCalmDog 1.0, on most modern Android devices, on mp3 players with line out, and on stereos with media playback over USB. How versatile!
Why Music for Cats?
Since the 2008 release of Through a Dog’s Ear music, requests for music specially designed for cats have been constant. As a research-based organization, we’ve demurred; there has been minimal scientific examination of music and sound with cats. However, recent research by Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington (2011, Ohio State University) caught our attention. While studying feline interstitial cystitis (a leading cause of euthanasia), researchers discovered a primary cause of this ailment: stress! Change in the cat’s physical environment—strangers, different food, additional animals, loud noises, illness, etc.—is a major contributor. Cats prefer their homes to be stable and consistent. Acute feline stress turns into chronic irritation, manifesting in disease and behavioral challenges.
The Calming flash drive is designed to reduce stress in a chaotic or unsettling environment. Our sonic toolkit originates from sound therapies with neurodevelopmentally-challenged humans in which tone, tempo, and pattern are considered. Frequency ranges have been adjusted to a cat’s auditory range and a new technique called sonic anchoring is included.
What is Sonic Anchoring?
Our goal is to create a mental and emotional sense of safety that arises from familiarity. We accomplish this through a recognizable sequence of notes. While people hear these interludes as repeating melodic intervals, perhaps cats cognitively categorize this information as a familiar frequency matrix. Cats are not so much hearing the melody, but feeling a sequence of vibrational frequencies, particularly when they are lying near their iCalmCat. Like sensory information we instantly recognize – a favorite taste or aroma, our best friend’s voice, a mother’s touch–familiar sensory cues can have a profound and calming impact on the nervous system while providing psychological security.
What is Frequency Modulation?
To further focus the therapeutic impact, we’ve removed higher frequencies from the re-arranged piano music. Frequency modulation (FM) also takes place in the mid-
and low-frequency ranges. Essentially, by reducing or boosting specific nutrients
of sound, the resonance affects the nervous system. Through progressive FM, “arousing” frequencies are reduced and “soothing” frequencies are increased.