Why Music for Cats?
Cats prefer their homes to be stable and consistent. Acute feline stress turns into chronic irritation, manifesting in disease and behavioral challenges. Much research showed that this was the main problem that cats in human households consistently faced. While looking for solutions, we found a study by Dr. C.A. Tony Buffington (2011, Ohio State University) that caught our attention. When 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.
Discovering that feline stress was correlated with change, we set out to create music that has a sonically stabilizing effect. 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. Our sonic toolkit originates from sound therapies with neurodevelopmentally-challenged humans in which tone, tempo, and pattern are considered. In post-production mixing, we’ve removed higher frequencies from our re-arranged piano music. This frequency modulation (FM) also takes place in the mid-and low-frequency ranges. Essentially, by reducing or boosting specific nutrients of sound, arousing frequencies are reduced and soothing frequencies are increased. Through progressive FM, the resonance principle affects the nervous system. (This is true with humans and dogs, as well.)
Sonic Anchoring: While people hear these short interludes (from CPE Bach’s Rondo Espressivo) as repeating melodic intervals, we believe cats cognitively categorize this sonic 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. Of the 44 compositions that comprise iCalmCat’s Calming music, minute-long variations of the Bach interlude are inserted every 2-3 compositions. Similar to 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.