Music for Cats… – Guaranteed to be your Cat’s Jam!

"His Mistress's Voice" - original artwork starring Quark the cat pictured in 2011. Image: NaturPhilosophieScientifically Proven to be Your Cat’s Jam

A team of scientists have written music that they found most cats respond to a “little like sonic catnip”.  They used tempos and melodies originating from purrs and suckling. 

I love cats…  They are so graceful.  Cats love sounds and music.  My favourite cat (top picture) loved it when I played him bird songs and… soft harmonica tunes… and Sigur Rós…

According to the Independent, ‘Music for Cats’ is “scientifically proven to be your cat’s jam“.

 

Music for Cats

A still photograph showing YouTube feline star Marmalade enjoying the sound of "Music for Cats".
Pretty soon, Marmalade was jamming to the sound of “Music for Cats”…  Source: YouTube

Many studies have attempted to use music to influence the behaviour of non-human animals.  However, these studies have often led to conflicting outcomes.

The scientists looked at the natural vocalisations of cats and matched their musical composition to the same frequency range, which is about an octave or more higher than human voices.

One octave higher than the human voice.

 

Since cats use lots of sliding frequencies in their calls, the music for cats has many more sliding notes than the human music.

As it happens, the music sounds pretty nice to humans too – Cozmo’s Air could easily pass for an instrumental Björk track.

The study published in the journal Applied Animal Behavioural Science showed that domestic cats did not respond when played human music.  However…  Upon hearing the specially-producedcat songs‘, the felines became excited and displayed a keen interest in the loudspeakers by rubbing their scent glands on them.

 

A photograph of celebrity cats Cole and Marmalade who took part in the musical experiment on YouTube.
Internet feline celebrities Cole and Marmalade both took part in the scientific experiment. Source: YouTube

“Sonic Catnip”

The scientists developed a new theoretical framework:

In order for music to be effective with other species, it must be in the frequency range and with similar tempos to those used in natural communication by each species.

They used this framework to compose species-appropriate music for a few animal species.

In their paper ‘Cats prefer species-appropriate music’, the scientists created species-appropriate music for domestic cats and tested this music in comparison with music with similar affective content composed for humans.

They presented two examples of cat music in counterbalanced order with two examples of human music, and evaluated the behaviour and response latencies of cats to each piece.

The cats showed a significant preference for and interest in species-appropriate music compared with human music.

Younger and older cats were more responsive to cat music than middle-aged cats.

 

The results of the study suggest novel and more appropriate ways for using music as auditory enrichment for nonhuman animals.

Without further ado, this is ‘Music for Cats‘ by David Treie who is strangely reported to be “allergic to cats”…