Kitten Mind Control

We have been having a discussion about the best kind of microphones to use on the Dharmaville google group.

I also take part in a weekly podcast on where we discuss music technology and all things audio.

You can check it out later today at 16:00 UDT LIVE.

Drop by the chat room and say hello.

With all this in mind I noticed something a little odd yesterday.

I got a tin of processed peas out of a cupboard and went to open them.

Our female cat, in some other part of the house, responded and came bounding into the kitchen minutes later with our male cat in hot pursuit.

She had that ‘feed me’ look.

Now Dharmaville is very much about existence and personal psychology. It’s a fun group to be a part of, with members pushing the curve on what’s possible about life.

Offering everything from kinaesthetic golf professionals to love rockstars, NLP gurus and Word Press experts.

And with the subjects of microphones, personal psychology and cats in the mental mix…

I just had to record the sound of a tin opening using my trusty iPhone.

After the performance I let the cats settle for a while. They curled up and went to sleep.


I played the recording…


So, I rattled the top of the open tin.

The sleeping cats recoiled like springs and appeared in the kitchen again.


I decided to record the sound of a fresh tin of cat food opening with a professional microphone and play it back through good speakers.

Guess what.

No response to the recording!

Rattle lid of same tin and cats spring to life like they have been electrocuted.

A new benchmark for Digital Audio Workstations perhaps?

The kitten mind control test…

So what are they hearing that the microphone / DAW is not?

It is likely to be a very high frequency and yet they hear through walls and from the other end of the house.

High frequency sound tends to be absorbed over distance.

So is it really really loud?

Thinking back, I have actually observed the same thing when I record the sound of the other cat yowling.

She completely ignores a recording, yet will respond to the other cat.

Again there must be a part of the sound the recording equipment does not hear.

And from that I can determine…

Cats clearly have much better hearing than dogs!

Or they are cleverer 🙂

Now I am not saying dogs are stupid, but play a dog a recording of another dog barking…

See you on the other side of the looking glass,

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  1. Don’t you get all kinds of weird anti-aliasing effects at high frequencies when using DSP?

    These could easily disrupt the integrity of the Cat Control Codes (Which are embedded in tin cans (yes, even the ones for peas) during manufacture.

    I’m sure I’ve left a warning about cats here before.

    Beware, Schrödinger’s Cat can be both sides of the looking glass (as well as being dead and alive) at the same time.


  2. Fascinating. It could be those high frequencies beyond our hearing (above 20 khz). It could be more. Perhaps a test of it recorded in DSD and played back in one of those systems with tweeters that go to 40 khz (Tannoy, Focal, ADAM) would have had different results. That, given the difference is frequency range.

    There is the idea, what if it is not? Therein lies the mystery of higher sample rates. It’s not just improved high frequency response (with no kind of low pass filtering) that may be at work. There is the simple reality that digital audio, even at DSD (up to 5 or more mhz sample rates) is samples and spaces in between.

    It always has been. Audio Sample – Space – Audio Sample – Space – Etc.. We humans have an ability, in not just sound, to ‘fill in the gaps’ of perception. We can talk to someone on the phone and not seem to notice how narrow the band is we hear them through. Our ears make up that difference. Our position as the top species / top of the food change may have given us some lax in that area.

    Even domesticated, cats may not have that luxury of evolution. They may have an ability to detect that it’s not the real sound, due to the spaces in between it. This again is just another possibility. There could be something about sound we’ve not yet discovered, that deliniates ‘real’ sources (that actual tin) vs. the recording of the real source, even in analogue. Would analogue have gotten a different result? If not, there may be more to this than we humans know about.


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