An Insight Into the Response of Cats to Music

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As a human, you know how important music is in your life. However, you might’ve never thought about the relationship between cats and music. You must’ve experienced the power of music and how it can impact your mood. The human brain sends certain signals when you hear music. As a result, there’s a triggering of emotions in you.

Now, the question is whether it produces the same effect on cats. This led musicians and scientists to perform tests on how music can influence cats. They came to the conclusion that music can have certain positive impacts on a cat. Of course, this can happen only upon playing the right type of music.

How cats perceive music

Cats come with refined senses so that they can help them in hunting their prey. These felines know how to come close to their prey without making a sound. On their front paws, cats have some sensitive hair that allows them to feel their environment. As a result, they rarely miss even the slightest of vibrations.

Generally, you might never recognize such vibrations around you. This makes cats some sort of walking seismographs. Cats also have one of the best hearing capabilities among animals. Their hearing is so advanced that they can hear the slightest sound of a mouse even while they’re asleep.

This is great for their survival because they can become an easy prey in the wild while sleeping. With all these facts, you can clearly understand how cats perceive music. They can hear the distinct tunes even if noted down by the composer.

Response to rhythms in kittens

Remember the musical Cats? This melodrama from Andrew Lloyd is perhaps the most successful musical of all times. All the leading roles in the musical are cats. Now, you might wonder whether cats truly like the same music as we do. Scientists from the University of Wisconsin noted the reaction of different cats upon hearing a variety of music. They were initially composed only for the human ears.

The scientists found that there’s indeed a special kind of music that pleases the cat. It is a type of sound that suits their highly sensitive ears. Upon exploring further, the scientists came across some interesting observations. The sounds that were pleasant to the kittens during their first weeks of childhood remained so throughout their lives.

Right from their birth, the kittens have a number of survival reflexes. In the beginning , they can’t hear or see. They can perceive their environment with all their senses only from the second week. The very first rhythms that kittens perceive are the vibrations coming from their mother. Mostly it’s their mother’s heartbeats or her sound of purring.

Cats usually like high frequency sounds

The music that feels good for a cat has a connection to its good early-life experiences. Purring occupies the top slot in its preferred list of sounds. It must also be kept in mind that cats like to communicate generally in high frequencies. They find those sounds pleasing that are an octave higher in frequency than a human voice. If you’re someone who composes music for cats, you must include high-pitch instruments.

Among the perfect ones for this purpose are the violin and cello. It’s not just about the tone, which makes the music pleasing to a cat. Tempo and dynamics also play an important role. For example, purring amounts to 1,000 beats per minute approximately. So, the frequency and tempo must be set according to the structure of sounds associated with purring.

Cat music must not be too loud

Cats have a greater sensitivity to hearing than human beings. So, you must ensure that the music is not too loud. Cat’s ears don’t like aggressive sounds. This might be disappointing to the fans of techno, trash or heavy metal music. If you like aggressive music and have a cat at home, put on your headset.

Another type of music to avoid is the one that uses different instruments and tones. So, you must definitely avoid the multi-phonic jazz combos.

Music that’s soothing for a cat

There are certain types of music that can delight and relax your cat. One ideal example of this is the sleep-enhancing music. Now, let’s take a look at some of the other types of music that are ideal for cats:

Soft classical

Classical music not only feels soothing to the humans, but they also have the same effect on cats. Studies show that music has a great influence on the nervous system, which controls the heart’s functions. The type of music that we listen to has an impact on our breathing and blood pressure.

Cats calm down immediately after hearing soft and harmonious sounds. They also lead to well-balanced heartbeats and relaxed breathing in the felines.

Natural sounds

You can try playing natural sounds to relax your cat. A good example of this would be the sound of sea waves. The frequency of this sound has twelve vibrations in a minute, which is considered as soothing. It closely resembles the rhythm of breathing during your sleep. You’ll instantly feel relaxed while listening to such sounds. This is exactly the reason why this music will be soothing to your cat’s ears.

Music compositions for cats

Many scientists have conducted their research on the musical tastes of cats. These results were utilized for composing special cat music. It was associated with the frequencies that the animals used while communicating. Upon adding a few conventional elements of music, the compositions were also made human-friendly. As a result, both cats and humans could enjoy this music.

There are some composers who have created some species-appropriate music. Among them are Charles Snowdown, Oliver Kerschner, and David Teie. Although cats would love these pieces, humans won’t probably like some of them in the beginning.

David Teie’s Music for Cats

A cellist with the Washington National Symphony Orchestra, David Teie is famed for composing Music for Cats. Fans of cats from various corners of the world welcomed it with great enthusiasm. There were reports of cats caressing the loudspeakers, feeling soothed and relaxed.

David Teie also teaches at the University of Maryland. Teie had composed Music for Cats with Professor Charles Snowdon. He is an expert for animal behavior and a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin.


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