The Internet has a new cat
New site offers up just this — the sound of a kitty purring.
I’ve been listening to the “Intercat” purr for an hour now.
He’s curled up, his head tucked under, occasionally letting out a sleepy meow.
At least, that’s what I imagine. The Intercat is just a sound on a new website, created only for this purpose — to let people hear a cat purring while at their computers or phones, perhaps far from the real thing.
I asked people to listen in at Purrli and share their thoughts. Some names are changed to protect the innocent.
Purrli allows listeners to select their own purr levels. Image credit: Purrli
“This is pretty wonderful,” Rachelle responded. “Makes me want a kitty on my lap right now.”
“I have to admit, the sound effects are pretty spot on — right down to the different kinds of meows and squeaks,” Tracey said. “The only thing missing is the gentle vibration that goes along with the purrs.”
“That’s just purrfect,” said Raj. “The Internet has a cat.”
Not everyone is purrfectly pleased.
“I found it both addictive and aggravating,” said Alicia. “Aggravating, because some of the sounds were horrid. I was desperate to make them stop! I found there was a small area between cute and sweet, and irritating.”
“It’s not supposed to be a weird fetish thing, is it?” asked Jessica. “It’s actually kind of nice, but not the cat meowing. That really messed up the whole relaxing vibe.”
“Babouche” is the real cat who helped in the development of the online purr generator, according to Purrli.
The creator of this site is a master of sound.
Brussels-born research engineer and sound designer Stephane Pigeon runs myNoise, a site offering background sounds for a range of ears and brains, like tin roof rain, digeridrone, laundromat and sleeping dragon.
“When I developed myNoise… people kept asking me for a purring cat,” Pigeon writes on Purrli. “Unfortunately, the audio engine on myNoise was not designed to play that sort of sound.”
“But the requests kept coming!” he added. “At one point, I realized that I was spending more time answering emails explaining why ‘a cat purr’ wouldn’t work than it would take for me to design one!”
So, he did. And Purrli came to life on June 26, according to the Purrli social media accounts.
You can set sliders on the Intercat to adjust its audible kitty hum.
Close or distant, steady or lively, even how many meows per minute, depending on how “naggy” you want the digital feline to be.
With experimentation, many reviewers found the sound to have a similar effect.
“Curious. Then relaxed. Then curiously relaxed,” said Raj.
“Could be a great sleep aid for a kitty lover,” Rachelle suggested.
“I’ll turn on the purrcolator. Then fall asleep for two days!” said Teemo.
“I wouldn’t want it on all time as ambient music around the house, but if I was sleeping with someone and they needed on as white noise to fall asleep, I’d be okay with it,” explained Jessica.
Jessica’s preferred sound settings for Purrli.
Some users on Pigeon’s site say they employ the Interkitty for more than just falling asleep.
“My cat that grew up with me during childhood died two or three years ago, and whenever I was upset, she would come and lay next to me and purr to calm me down,” wrote one listener. “This cat purr generator sounds just like her, and it really helps with my anxiety, especially during large projects.”
“I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve used this cat purr to counter a panic attack, both in process and coming up,” wrote another.
Others say this allows them to enjoy a cat when they can’t have a real one.
“The people I live with are allergic to cats, so I can’t have that experience,” one noted. “This app not only relaxes me, but also helps me to fall asleep, and it kind of gives me a small part of the cat owning experience.”
Purrli asks pet owners to send in their images of cats intrigued by the purr generator.
Will it eventually replace real cats, like the apps that allow you to have dinner with a virtual date or live with a virtual companion?
“Well, for me, that’s easy, and the answer is no,” said Rachelle.
In fact, the Interkitty makes some want to jump up and seek out a live cat. It might generate even more live human-cat interactions.
“Especially when it starts meowing,” added Rachelle.
And some will use it in conjunction with the real thing.
“Tilly even responded with her own soft meow when she heard one come out of my computer speakers,” said Tracey.
How many lives?
Some reviewers — even cat people — aren’t convinced they’ll tune in to the purr generator long-term.
“To be honest, there’s a good chance I’ll forget about it after, so I don’t even know if I’ll listen to Internet purring again,” said Rachelle. “Seems like novelty to share and forget.”
And Jessica prefers a water sounds app for bedtime over the happy kitty noise.
But she doesn’t begrudge those who turn to the online purr.
“Somebody out there will love it,” said Jessica. “I mean there should be a website for everyone.”
For the final word, we checked in with the Oregon Humane Society, not too far from the Archer News Network studio in Portland, Oregon.
“I just tried the Purrli website, as I am a sucker for the sound of a cat purring,” said OHS’ David Lytle.
“At OHS, we are not officially allowed to endorse products,” he told us. “But I could say this: I personally find a cat’s purr to be one of the most soothing sounds I have ever heard. We don’t know why the sound is so relaxing, but I think cat lovers everywhere would be delighted to be able to hear a cat purring anytime, anywhere. It’s a purrfect use of the Internet.”
Real cats investigate the online purr generator on Purrli’s Facebook page.
As for me, I’m about done with the Intercat for now.
For me, a purr is a precious noise you earn by convincing a kitty to like and trust you.
I can’t cheapen it by simply clicking a link online. That’s like having an ice cream sundae for every meal, instead of saving it for special occasions.
I just turned it off.
Now to go find a real cat to hold and pet.
If I can’t, I might just be back.