November 2, 2016 – Remember, remember the 5th of November is one of the most stressful nights of the year for cats and dogs. So UK pet insurer More Than has developed two free films, with the help of an animal behaviourist and a vet, to help calm your furry friends during the flashes, whistles and bangs of the evening.
The movies are playfully entitled Woofering Heights and Peer Window in homage to the Emily Bronte and Alfred Hitchcock classics, with narration by award-winning Scottish actor David Tennant. The films can be viewed below:
Woofering Heights Film for Dogs: https://youtu.be/_xAFSNn335E
Peer Window Film for Cats: https://youtu.be/z0xL2Q7D384
A making of documentary: https://youtu.be/0MHF-f55vd8
Although to humans the short films may appear abstract and surreal, they are highly compelling viewing for their intended audiences of cats and dogs, the pet insurer says. Indeed, every aspect of both films draws extensively on scientific insights into the precise forms of audio and visual content that can at first capture and arouse the attention of a cat or a dog before gradually inducing feelings of relaxation and sleep.
More Than Pet Insurance worked closely with animal behaviourist Karen Wild and vet Robert White-Adams throughout the making of both films which aim to help relax cats and dogs and counter the effects of noise phobia.
Peer Window is set entirely within a window frame to reflect a cat’s habitual behaviour of staring out of windows for approximately five hours a day. The film depicts a blend of animate and inanimate objects, as recommended by the academic research, including looping scenes of fish, swaying trees, rain droplets and rippling water, among other abstract images. Accompanying these scenes are melodic sounds in cat-friendly frequencies and the softly spoken tones of David, based on the scientific insight that a human voice can relax cats.
Woofering Heights, the film for dogs, employs key scientific prompts by incorporating slowly moving pastoral scenery, a cast of sedentary dogs and the relaxing lilt of David delivering an Emily Bronte-inspired narration full of words and cadences that can calm canines. What’s more, the film has been shot entirely in a dog’s colour spectrum of blues and yellows – heightening the viewing experience for them.
The films are designed to be played to cats and dogs a number of times in the days leading up to 5 November, allowing them to become familiar with the content and learn by association. Both of the short films replay after the credits roll to reinforce the feelings of calm and relaxation.
“Noise phobia in cats and dogs can lead to distress, injury and long-term behavioural problems, so it’s important for pet owners that they do as much as they can to help calm and relax their animals,” said Karen.
“These films may seem strange to humans, but it’s important to realise that cats and dogs do not perceive the world in the same way we do and will respond to completely different audio and visual stimuli. Hopefully these films, in conjunction with other veterinary-approved measures, can have a positive effect on cats and dogs that suffer from noise phobia.”