Meowsic to My Ears: Do Cats Enjoy Music?
Cats typically enjoy entertainment in the form of physical toys, a video of mice running across a TV screen, etc., but do they enjoy listening to music? If so, what kind of music do they prefer? Is there a particular genre or type of sound that they find most appealing?
Sense of Hearing
First, it is important to note that cats have a different hearing range than us humans. They can hear higher frequencies and are less sensitive to lower frequencies. This means that music that sounds pleasant to us may not have the same effect on our feline friends. Additionally, cats have a heightened sense of hearing, and certain sounds that are not noticeable to humans can be extremely loud and uncomfortable for them.
There have been studies conducted on the effects of music on cats, and results have been mixed. One study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery found that cats in a veterinary clinic showed a decrease in stress levels when they were exposed to classical music. The study concluded that classical music can have a calming effect on cats and may be beneficial in reducing their anxiety in stressful situations.
Another study, conducted by researchers at the University of Lisbon in a surgical environment, exposed cats to different genres of music, including classical, pop, and heavy metal. The researchers found that the cats were most responsive to classical music, with many of them becoming more relaxed and even falling asleep while it was played.
However, another study published in Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that cats in a shelter environment showed no significant difference in behavior when exposed to music compared to a control group with no music. The study concluded that more research is needed to determine if music has any impact on cats in a shelter setting.
At-Home Music Use
While there is no conclusive evidence that cats have a preference for a certain type of music, anecdotal evidence suggests that they may enjoy certain sounds and rhythms. For example, many cat owners have observed that their pets seem to be drawn to music with a slower tempo and a calming melody.
In recent years, there has been a growing trend of music specifically designed for cats. These compositions are created with the intention of appealing to feline sensibilities, using sounds and frequencies that are thought to be most pleasing to cats. One example of this type of music is the album "Music for Cats" by David Teie, a cellist and composer who has worked with the National Symphony Orchestra. Teie's compositions are based on the sounds and frequencies that cats are most attuned to, such as the chirping of birds and the purring of other cats. According to Teie, his music can help to calm anxious cats, and even encourage them to eat and groom themselves.
Cats may also enjoy music that mimics sounds that they are familiar with in their natural environment. For instance, some cats may enjoy music that includes bird songs or sounds of nature. The sound of purring, which is a common sound that cats make, may be soothing to them. Some cats have also been observed to enjoy the sound of the human voice, especially the voice of their owner. Talking to your cat or playing recordings of your voice may help to soothe them and provide a sense of comfort.
It is important to be mindful of the sounds that you expose your cat to and to pay attention to their behavior to determine what they find enjoyable. As with any form of entertainment, you should provide your cat with a variety of options and observe their reactions to determine what they enjoy the most. Soothing classical music is a great place to start.