Sound has a profound effect on health and behaviour. Sounds can have a calming effect and promote relaxation for cats in our care.
Below are some activities that can be easily implemented in an animal centre setting to positively stimulate this sense.
Audio devices such as mp3 players, CD players or white noise machine that are turned on in the cat area can provide a familiar noise to cats, and cancels out some of the surrounding shelter noise.
If any music is played in the cat housing areas it should be music composed specifically for cats. Cats prefer music with a pitch one octave higher than people, and in a tempo based on purring and suckling. Cats mostly ignore classical music and can respond dramatically to their own special tunes. Bird sound recordings can also be played as a source of enrichment and entertainment. For more information, click here.
Never place the speakers on the top of a cage this will cause unpleasant vibration for the cats.
It is critical that cats experience periods of quiet; do not leave music playing 24 hours a day.
See icalmpet for additional information on music that has been specifically formulated for cats.
Be mindful, though, that cats can hear frequencies we cannot hear. Some sounds might be disturbing or painful to them even though they seem pleasant to us. Also, be mindful that noise made by caretakers and visitors may be jarring to cats, so make a conscious effort to keep the noise down. Watch this short video and notice the noises from the cat’s perspective.
The following material has been adapted from the ASPCApro website.
A reading program can provide some well-needed company, and does not require physical activity to enjoy time together. Most cats usually enjoy spending time with you and welcome the opportunity to curl up on a warm lap. This is easier done in a playroom or communal space, but a chair can still be pulled up beside an individual cage. Sit quietly in a chair, start reading and let the cat choose to come to you. The cat may even help turn the pages. While you read aloud, the cat will find the sound of your voice comforting and will learn social skills that will help the cat get adopted. The key is your presence, quiet interaction with occasional petting, and a possible treat.
Tools needed: A good book, and a person to read it (a treat pouch can also offer a few surprises throughout the visit)
Find more information on Feline Reading Programs here.