Soothing the Savage (or Terrified or Grieving) Beast

Rescuers who do trap/neuter/ release programs are familiar with the trauma a caged feral cat undergoes during its wait for surgery and during the following recovery period. Sometimes the distressing period of captivity is even longer if the cat was captured to treat an injury or is being relocated to a new home.


Not long ago, I found myself dealing with the latter situation. The cat’s habitat was slated for construction and blasting. The property owner was terminating maintenance of the colony. The other feral cats had gradually dispersed when the old dumpsters were removed but this one cat, Tattle, remained. She had grown up around the dumpsters and we were concerned that she had been taught to scavenge in the dumpsters, not taught to hunt.  Without food from caregivers, would she survive?


So she came home to my feral house, a deluxe 3 level, and 2-wing wooden structure with window views in my living room. It has areas for privacy and open mesh areas where she could meet the other cats nose to nose. Once familiar with the other cats, the feral house door would be left open for short then longer periods of time until it stayed open. But Tattle was unimpressed and mightily distressed. The first night she would not eat and she cried much of the night. This could be heard from my bedroom.



I’d forgotten about the sleep loss part of this process because I hadn’t had a new feral guest in quite some time. But since the last guest I’d acquired a new trick and this situation was giving me a chance to test it.


Have you ever noticed a rhythm slowing you down or speeding you up? It could be music or steady rain, or a steady drone of traffic. Have you ever felt yourself going into trance from slow steady drumming or other sound? Our brains will adopt the rhythm we hear repetitively by slowing or speeding up the brain’s waves as shown on EEG machines. This phenomenon is called frequency following response or brainwave entrainment.


Different brain rhythms are called frequencies and result in different consciousness states and different body chemistry. For example when you are daydreaming your brain is likely generating alpha brainwaves. When you’re busy talking on the phone while filling in a spreadsheet on the computer, you are likely in the beta brainwave state. When you are sound asleep, your brain is creating delta brainwaves and your body is creating human growth hormone and other chemicals to replenish your system.


Over the years, various companies have produced and sold recordings of different frequencies to entrain the brain. These have often been advertised as ways to reach meditational states of mind, help insomnia, help with concentration and learning etc.


Could there be some frequencies or rhythms that would calm Tattle and convince her to eat? You bet. Did I have them? Sure did. Some years earlier, another feral feline roommate of mind was diagnosed with cancer. I had found frequency recordings that helped him and had been exploring frequencies ever since.


So I pulled out my mp3 player and selected Control Stress, which I personally use to de-stress from work and relax. This recording is described as a frequency that causes body and mind to spontaneously relax. It certainly does that — the first time I listened to it I felt like I was melting! I put the recording on repeat and placed it just outside where Tattle was sitting in the feral house. I played it for maybe 20 minutes. There was no more crying. But she still wasn’t eating.


Cats have to feel good before they will eat. So I then selected Endorphin Release. Endorphins are our “feel good” neurotransmitters and are also mild pain relievers. Certain frequencies stimulate the body to create endorphins  (I play this for myself when I’m feeling grumpy or out of sorts).  I played Endorphin Release for about 20 minutes with the mp3 player again positioned just outside the feral house. Next time I checked, Tattle had eaten.


I didn’t have to play the frequencies again. Because Tattle had experienced stress relief and feeling good, she was able to continue in those states eating and not crying. Recently, workers were trimming trees quite close to the house and the cats were upset with all the activity and noise. I played Control Stress repeatedly on the computer and the cats calmed down. I think these frequencies might be quite useful with animals or humans agitated by thunder, firecrackers or other noise. I’ve also used them to calm cats hissing and swiping at each other.


I should point out that many companies encode their frequencies as a type called binaural beats. Binaural beats require headphones and so are not helpful with feral cats. Control Stress and Endorphin Release are isochronic tones which do not require headphones. Another point to note is that many frequency recordings use a carrier sound playing over the selected frequencies to make the recording sound pleasant. The carrier sound for both Control Stress and Endorphin Release is music.


You can learn more about or purchase Control Stress or Endorphin Release and more helpful frequencies at Brainwave Entrainment Store.


Oh, and by the way. I mentioned above that I began exploring all kinds of frequencies when my feral housemate was diagnosed with cancer. I’ve put all that information into an e-book that mentions types and suppliers of frequencies, how the frequencies work with the cats, how they work with me, and some other frequencies and accessories I haven’t got round to exploring yet. I’m still working on the formatting but hopefully this e-book will be available from distributors soon. I’ll describe it more fully in this blog then. Stay tuned.
2012/06/28 originally

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