Do Cats Enjoy Music?

A few weeks back, we posted an article that explored whether our canine pals could like music. In it, we revealed that there was actually some scientific research backing the notion that a dog’s mood can be affected by the type of music they’re exposed to. Today, we’ll explore what some scholars have to say about how music may (or may not) affect our feline friends. Can they, too, appreciate a good ditty every now and then? Read on to see what we uncovered.

...

What makes a song a hit? Species specificity, apparently.
The most well-known studies involving animals and music have been conducted by animal psychologist Charles Snowdon at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His findings suggest that animals may very well appreciate music, but the jams that animals (us humans included!) will enjoy must be “species specific.” Meaning, a song composed of one set of sounds, tempos, and pitches may be music to a monkey’s ears, but would absolutely grate on ours. Indeed, Snowdown and composer David Teie made “music” especially for Tamarin monkeys which consisted of pitches within their species’ natural vocal range along with tempos that correspond to normal Tamarin heart-rates. The results? According to the researchers, the monkeys dug it!

Bored by Bach
So can the same be done for cats? Our intrepid researchers wanted to know, so with the same techniques used to make monkey music, Snowdon and Teie composed music for cats. The result is a handful of tunes (now available for sale by Teie) with titles like “Cozmo’s Air,” “Spook’s Ditty,” and “Rusty’s Ballad.” During the study, these compositions were played to 47 different domestic cats along with some “human music” by classical composers Johann Sebastien Bach and Gabriel Fauré. Sure enough, the cats appeared to be significantly keener on Teie’s cat-specific compositions than they were on music by two of classical music’s most celebrated composers. In fact, the human music drew no observable response from the cats at all. Go figure.

Enough talk. Just play us the cat music!
So now that we’ve told you that music for cats is an actual thing backed by some actual research, you’re probably curious to know what it sounds like and whether your own furballs will like it. Well, have no fear. Some samples of Teie’s cat music can be streamed at this website. But before you press play, make sure to gather your feline friends ‘round your computer speakers to see if “cat music” is their cup o’ tea.

By Maya M.