Music for Cats

Last Updated on April 4, 2020

As mentioned in another blog post, “Do Cats Like Music?”, I touched on scientists exploring music with cats and they have finally done it! Two psychologists at the University of Wisconsin teamed up with a composer at the University of Maryland and have made music specifically designed for cats to enjoy!

Music For Animals

The songs they made used frequencies that cats use themselves when communicating with each other. The research has found while the songs may not be appealing to us humans, cats actually enjoy the music. This is not only amazing but a part of a huge project that will be making tunes for many other members of the animal kingdom. This same team made music for tamarin monkeys as well, which offers them a soothing effect. This is all being done in hopes that it can make life in captivity better for animals in zoos and shelters.

David Teie’s Work

The composer, David Teie, has a website called “Music For Cats” that showcases music written just for domestic house cats. The music made was only using traditional instruments and some human voice with no actual animal sounds, which tends to be unsettling to some cats. Three types of songs were made based on the different vocal frequencies of cats.  (Each song costs $1.29)

Playful Kitty Ditties – “incorporate stylizations of some of the animal calls that are of great interest to cats” & “are meant to arouse interest and curiosity”.

Cat Ballads –  “should be restful and pleasing for your kitty” – it mimics suckling sounds of a kitten.

Feline Airs –  “based on the pulses of the purr” & “[draw] sympathetic emotions from the listener.”

Musical Findings

The study used 47 kittens who listened to our music. It showed that cats were either not interested or did not like it. Then they played the songs above, and things got interesting! They were rubbing their faces all over the speakers.

Mental Floss’ author, Erin McCarthy, did her own experiment using her cats, Olly and Pearl. Watch the video to see what you think! Olly is almost 6 and Pearl is about 1.5 years old.

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