Santa Claws is coming to town!
Every year, the release of the Christmas edition of the Radio Times heralds the start of the fur-stive period, but does anybody stop to ask our furry friends what they want to watch to unwind over the holidays?
We did just that! Well… we can’t actually talk to pets, despite our best efforts at Itch HQ, but we did the next best thing. We brought in Dr Robert Falconer-Taylor, the top dog in pet mental health, and Boyd Hilton, a paw-some TV critic, to pick out the purr-fect shows for our pets this Christmas.
Dr Falconer-Taylor says that cats and dogs can hear much higher frequency sounds than humans can. A good example of this is in the noise made by electronic equipment, light bulbs and digital displays, which all emit a high-pitched whistle, similar to a ‘silent’ dog whistle. This audio-interference can have a negative impact on how our pets are feeling, but the shows we’ve picked out have the perfect audio attributes to help drown out these distracting noises and help your pets find some calm.
The research also shows that music affects our pets’ emotional states in a similar way to humans, in an instant it can alter how they are feeling, meaning the right soundtrack can help turn a morose moggie into a content kittie.
The regular, harmonic rhythms of a pop song can induce positive emotional states, while the irregular, dissonant sound of an avant-garde opera may make your pets feel on edge.
This means shows with epic scores like Strictly: The Christmas Countdown, which has been picked to feature in the Grr-Radio Times, are likely to keep pets calm in busy or unfamiliar houses during the holidays.
Similarly, it’s a popular belief that cats and dogs only see in black and white, which is actually untrue. Their vision is optimised for seeing moving objects in poor light, where the bright colours we are used to are more muted.
All this means that fast paced and colourful spectaculars like Britain’s Got Talent at Christmas will help stimulate the senses and improve the overall mental wellness of your pets.
The shows selected to feature in the Grr-Radio Times are all backed by this research into pet behaviours, with sounds and visuals that are likely to help your pets have a well-deserved Petflix & chill.
1 Bowman, A., Scottish, S.P.C.A., Dowell, F.J. and Evans, N.P., 2015. ‘Four Seasons’ in an animal rescue centre; classical music reduces environmental stress in kennelled dogs. Physiology & Behavior, 143, pp.70-82.
2 Bowman, A., Scottish, S.P.C.A., Dowell, F.J. and Evans, N.P., 2017. The effect of different genres of music on the stress levels of kennelled dogs. Physiology & behavior, 171, pp.207-215.
3 Brayley, C. and Montrose, V.T., 2016. The effects of audiobooks on the behaviour of dogs at a rehoming kennels. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 174, pp.111-115.
4 Snowdon, C.T., Teie, D. and Savage, M., 2015. Cats prefer species-appropriate music. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 166, pp.106-111.