Finicky felines prefer 'cat music' over your sick beats
Peyton, a black cat, in Lacey Township, N.J., on Feb. 12, 2015. (AP / Wayne Parry)
Nick Wells, CTVNews.ca
Published Wednesday, March 11, 2015 7:34AM EDT
While your pet cat may leave the room when you turn on the latest Drake album it doesn't mean they're not music fans.
A study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science has revealed that cats are big music lovers, as long as the songs are written for them.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin played two pieces of classical music and two ‘cat songs’ to some 47 felines, in order to test their musical taste.
One song used a tempo based on a cat’s purring while the other used a sucking sound often heard during nursing. Both songs were composed with a cat’s octave range in mind.
“We are not actually replicating cat sounds,” said researcher Charles Snowdon, in a statement. “We are trying to create music with a pitch and tempo that appeals to cats.”
The music was given a positive or negative rating based on a cat’s reaction. Purring and rubbing against the speaker meant the animal enjoyed it. A negative rating was given if the feline hissed, arched its back or its fur stood up.
The felines responded quicker and more positively to the music designed for them, showing signals a minute sooner than when they were hearing “people music.”
This isn’t the first time Snowdon and University of Maryland composer David Teie have tested the musical tastes of animals.
The pair compiled a report in 2009, on cotton-top tamarins – a type of monkey – and determined it showed an emotional connection to music composed specifically for them.
Snowdon says there is still much to learn about animals’ the musical tastes.
“A reporter for National Public Radio is convinced his dog likes classical, so he puts on NPR all day,” he said. “A guy from a rock station thought his dog liked heavy metal, so he put that on all day. There is a lot of silly stuff going on. We don’t yet know, for most cases, what the effects of music are on animals.”
Dogs have already made an impact on the music scene. Laurie Anderson performed “Music for Dogs” as part of an art festival held in Australia during June 2010.
Her music featured whale calls, whistles and electronic sounds which could only be heard by the canine audience.