Pet experts have long been intrigued by the effects that certain sounds have on animal behavior.
It is well known that cats
and especially dogs have much more sensitive hearing than humans, and specific sounds (thunder is a prime example) can cause them to experience a great deal of distress, while other sounds may help to calm pets.
Meanwhile, a Washington Depot, Conn., company called Pet Acoustics
has come out with a line of animal behavior products utilizing specific sounds designed to calm and soothe pets (and humans).
The company sent Omar
and me a DVD video called "Cats See and Play" for our review.
Based on the principle that cats have much more acute hearing and a more enhanced ability to tune into the colors of nature than humans, this video contains musical and nature sounds and images that reportedly keep cats engaged and stimulated when played throughout the day.
But first, here's info about the company.
How Sounds Impacts Animal Behavior
This company was founded by Janet Marlow, a composer, author of the book "The Magic of Music for Pets" and researcher, and Sam Laufer, an attorney, inventor and music marketing maven, both of whom (obviously) love animals.
Both are also keenly aware of and interested in how animals' sense of hearing and their environments in general affect their behavior, and overall well being.
Thus, they decided to come up with a line of innovative pet products to specifically enhance the lives of dogs, cats and horses
, which have been successfully used in animal hospitals, pet shelters, pet grooming
and pet daycare facilities.
Music Does Soothe the Savage Beast, and Humans
Following much research into animal behavior, Marlow came to the realization that animals' highly sensitive hearing can have a profound impact on their temperaments, which is an often overlooked cause of pet misbehavior and emotional problems.
In an effort to further study this phenomenon, the New York-based Good Dog Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and research of animal-assisted therapy for humans, participated in a three month study in 2010 on the effects of the Pet Acoustics My Pet Speaker − a sound system that transforms music into pet-friendly tunes via limiting extreme high and low notes − on pets and humans during dog obedience classes.
Not only did 80 percent of the human participants report that the music had a calming effect on their pets, 75 percent claimed that they personally found this soothing.
You can view the findings from the study here
Animal Behavior and Sounds
As a former popular music critic who regularly reviewed albums spanning an eclectic array of genres, I have witnessed strong reactions to sounds with virtually every pet I ever had.
Interestingly, even my goldfish, Beau, would become rambunctious and agitated whenever I played aggressive music, such as heavy metal or punk rock. He would perform a fish version of slam dancing by rapidly darting back and forth across his tank like a pinball!
Conversely, my pets would chill out whenever I played more soothing tunes, such as jazz or folk. Indeed, Marlow's research backs this up.
So I was especially eager to witness the effect the DVD video "Cats See and Play" would have on Omar.
Pet Sounds for the Kitty Music Connoisseur
"Cats See and Play" is a clever, entertaining 46-minute total DVD video that's divided into five parts, accompanied by 10 music tracks:
- Animal Scenes
- Nature Scenes
- About Pet Acoustics
- Relaxation Music for Cats
The "aw-inspiring" animal scenes portion includes video of fish contentedly swimming in an aquarium; scenes of exotic to domesticate birds such as a plethora of parakeets
cavorting in a cage; bunnies
cuddling up to each other; hamster
s spinning merrily on a wheel; and other charming critters. This is accompanied by cheerful contemporary folk music with ocean sounds in the background.
The cat portion consists of video footage of a contented kitty accompanied by the sounds of purring, meowing and squeaky toys.
A 'Mew-sic Meow-stro' Gives His Review!
The two sections that Omar liked best were the nature scenes, consisting of pictures of brightly colored flowers, trees and a forest stream with lively, New Agey flute music and bird sounds, and the cat relaxation music.
The former had him up and prancing around the house and playing with his toys in no time. Conversely, he immediately curled up and fell blissfully asleep during the relaxation music section; this had the effect of a kitty lullaby.
Another cool feature is that you can set the DVD to play continuously throughout the day, which comes in handy for people who spend long hours away from home. This aids in alleviating cat boredom, and helps to keep kitties stimulated while alone.
I can personally attest that this DVD lives up to its claims. Music really does have charms to soothe the savage beast, and the ability to keep bored kitties amused. (Okay, so the correct term is ‘savage breast.’ Forgive me, William Congreve!)