Music therapy is an ever-growing field. Every day we learn more information about sound frequencies and how they relate to healing. One of the most well-known facts is a feline related. Because a cat’s purr is a sound frequency that not only helps them heal themselves, but us humans too! So what can outside frequencies like soft zen music do for cats?
The Background of Sound Therapy
Cats are hunters, which means their hearing is more advanced than ours. Cats can approach their prey making zero noise, and they can feel their environment through the sensitive fur on their paws. So does this make them floofy seismographs, able to detect vibrations?
Cats have 32 muscles in each ear, or 64 muscles total. With these muscles, they can point their ears in all kinds of different directions without ever moving their heads. With their enhanced hearing, cats can hear around 60 Hz, a lot more than our ears at less than 20 Hz! Why can they hear so well? Well if someone is trying to sneak up on you to become their lunch, you’d want to hear that and be warned ahead of time if you’re sleeping.
With our hearing, we’re often soothed by certain sounds like rainstorms, ocean waves, and music at certain frequencies. So if nature sounds and music can calm us and help with healing, what does it do for cats?
Ian Morris and the Advancement of Sound Healing in Pets
Amaryllis Turman, Vice Chair of the Humane Society in Greenwood, South Carolina, believes holistic approaches to wellness in shelter animals can work. So that’s where it starts! Turman is currently working with Ian Morris of “Listening to Smile” on finding sound frequencies to help animals.
“Ian is working on music to see which frequencies are most calming for dogs and cats in the kennels,” Turman said. “When an animal is in a calm state, it is less likely to get sick and it can also receive training better…We are using our facility as a test case to show how well this works. That way, when someone adopts one of our shelter animals, they are not starting at zero with training.”
It sounds a lot like people, doesn’t it? When humans or animals are in an anxiety-induced state it can cause different kinds of sickness, including stomach issues. Or, they become so flustered they have trouble listening. However, when in a calm state, their body is relaxed and they can calmly listen to instructions and retain the information. As an extra benefit, the music also helps staff since rescues can be a stressful environment.
Sound Frequency and Cats
The executive director of the Humane Society of Greenwood, Constance Mawyer, says touch, music, and chew toys filled with peanut butter can provide positive stimuli to keep animals living in shelters happy, physically and mentally.
Morris is releasing a CD of music and sound frequencies specifically engineered for pets and it’s being used at the Greenwood County Animal Shelter. So how does it work? Well, Mawyer says, “Sound enrichment can be used with dogs and cats. When I met Ian (Morris), he explained to me how certain frequencies and tones can affect brainwaves and heart rates in animals. We will be able to have animals ready for adoption quicker because we can use this to help them get over fears or undesirable behaviors. . . .The timing is right for this innovative enrichment, to give potential pets shorter shelter stays and higher adoption rates.”
The shelters that Morris works with, including Greenwood, plan on giving out these frequency CDs to adopters to help aid their new pets in transitioning to their new homes.
Meanwhile, Morris and Listening to Smile released new pet therapy music in June 2022.
So what do you do for your cats? Do you leave music on for them when you’re not home? Do you play some sound frequency healing music when they don’t feel well? Well, if you’d like to try it out to calm your cat and help them in a healing process, check out the YouTube video below and play it for your cat!