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I was very excited when I first heard about Through a Cat’s Ear, which combines music and sound therapy techniques, specifically designed for feline anxiety. This is not just simple relaxation music.
Why Through a Cat’s Ear is different from other relaxation music
Composer, music producer and sound researcher Joshua Leeds has been studying psychoacoustics—the effect of music and sound on human beings—since 1986. In 2003, concert pianist Lisa Spector inquired about adapting human sound therapy for dogs. Leeds began research into canine acoustic environments, which led to the release of the acclaimed audio series Through a Dog’s Ear. Through tonal and tempo selections, and simplification of solo piano music, Lisa and Joshua discovered effective solutions for many canine anxiety issues.
Since the 2008 release of Through a Dog’s Ear music, requests for music specially designed for cats have been constant. Through a Cat’s Ear, released earlier this month, is the answer to these requests. The music is designed to reduce stress in a chaotic or unsettling environment. Leed’s “sonic toolkit” originates from sound therapies with neuro-developmentally-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.
How does it help anxious cats relax?
The goal of the recording was to create a mental and emotional sense of safety that arises from familiarity. The music on Through a Cat’s Ear is repetitious by design. Of fifteen tracks, six interludes are melodic fragments from Bach’s “Rondo Espressivo.” While people hear these interludes as repeating melodic intervals, cats may categorize this information as a familiar frequency matrix. As much as cats are hearing the music, they are feeling a sequence of vibrational frequencies. 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.
My thoughts about Through a Cat’s Ear
I found all of this utterly fascinating, and was delighted when Joshua offered to send me a pre-release version of the cd. I’ve been playing it almost daily for the past few weeks. While it’s too soon to tell whether listening to the cd has calmed down Allegra and Ruby’s tortitude, I will say that I find it profoundly relaxing – far more so than any other relaxation music I’ve listened to. The music is beautiful and soothing for me – it’s impossible to remain tense or stressed while listening to this lovely sequence of calming sound. The girls do seem to gravitate toward the living room when the cd is playing, and have been taking more of their naps there. I have to believe that they are benefiting from this sound therapy.
I am intrigued with the potential of this simple healing modality for cats with behavioral challenges, cats in shelter or foster situations, and cats in veterinary clinics. I’m hoping to hear much more about sound therapy for cats in the future.
Through a Cat’s Ear is available from Amazon.
FTC Disclosure: I received a pre-release copy of this cd. Receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.
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