25th March 2011 the first Guinness world record trail
Smokey the cat made a Guinness World Record attempt for the ‘loudest purring cat.’ The guidelines set down by Guinness World records requested that a category 1 decibel sound meter be used for the recordings and it be placed at a distance of 1 meter away from the cat. This was done to avoid any distortion in the sound level by being to close. It would also enable any rival attempts at The Guinness World Record to compete at an equal set distance.
Northampton College helped to organise the trials and supplied the specialist equipment and sound engineer needed to record the attempts. Independent Witnesses were also present to record details of the trail and to provide ‘the official witness statements’ which Guinness specified. The whole trial was videoed with audio and photographs were taken.
Nobody was allowed to sneeze or create any background noise. Complete silence was required and maintained apart from a loud purring hum from the cat.
Guinness World Records had indicated that any witness’s should be specialist in the required field (sound in the case of purring) or be a public notary figure (a doctor, solicitor, Member of Parliament, Justice of the Piece, Police officer etc. Apologies to any professions not listed but space limits) or an animal welfare professional. (e.g. vet) Not sure which or how many witness’s Guinness wanted, we decided to cover all bases, so we made sure we had plenty of ’official’ witness’s on hand to supervise.
Ray Meadam, Curriculum manager music Northampton College/Sound technician,
Chris Heaton- Harris a Member of Parliament,
Diana Johnson a representative from Cats Protection Charity,
Kaye James a veterinary nurse (with animal ambulance supplied by Abington vets)
Alisdair Tait British Airways Captain/Pilot and photographer
To encourage Smokey to relax whilst all the specialist equipment and witness surrounded her, owner Ruth Adams stroked her reassuringly and distracted her with bribes of bits of ham and bacons of ham and bacon.
The treats worked well and at the set distance of 1 meter away Smokey was monitored at a peak purr of 73 decibels. This was equivalent to a figure of 16 times louder than your average moggie would purr.
Witness statements, press cuttings, Television footage, letters, schedules, recording of the trail, sound technicians report and accompanying letter where all sent off to The Guinness World Records office in London and Smokey awaited the result nervously with her paws crossed.
Guinness were pleased with the result of 73 decibels and all the evidence collected, however they had also specified that they required a data print out to be obtained from the decibel reader whilst the record attempt was made.
Unfortunately the decibel reader supplied was an older one and did not have a capacity to connect to a computer to down load the essential data print out. The hire company had assured them this would be supplied at a later date, however as time went on it became clear that no lead could be found which would connect to the computer to obtain a print out. A Big Hiss from Smokey at this news.
That could have been the end of the World Record attempt as the previous trial had taken a lot of organising but all the participants (you need a dedicated support crew to attempt set or break a Guinness World Record) where keen to try again and not to lose out on a Record for simply not having a compatible computer lead.