Music for cats: These sounds love velvet paws

Music for cats: These sounds love velvet paws

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In the Disney film "Aristocats" the fur noses sang "Cats need an awful lot of music", but do the velvet paws really like the jazzy sounds from the cartoon? Scientists found that the cat tigers really like special cat music, but they can't do much with human music. What kind of music do cats like to listen to? This minimiez likes piano sounds best - Shutterstock / Inna Astakhova

Human children can already hear when they are born, and probably hear their mother's heartbeat even before that. If we listen to music, the rhythm and frequency of which remind us of the heartbeat, we find it pleasant. Kittens, on the other hand, hardly hear anything when they are born and only get to know the sounds and spoken language of their peers in the following weeks. Among other things, music for cats should be tailored to this.

Do cats like music for people?

People like the most different kind of music - with and without text, loud and quiet, fast and slow - with different instruments. The pace of the human heartbeat is 60 to 70 beats per minute and is perceived as particularly calming. Cats, on the other hand, relax best with sounds that are based on the pace and frequency of the cat's purr - that's 1,200 beats per minute. The purring sound still sounds quieter and not more hectic for cat ears than the human heartbeat because it sounds more even.

Loud music with aggressive vocals and a lot of text and a fast, choppy rhythm like heavy metal are usually the least popular among cats. Jazz is not for them either, as it is too restless and plays too many different instruments. Cats are most likely to gain something from classical music - at least they don't seem to mind.

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Composer designs music for cats

About a year ago, musician David Teie set himself the task of composing music especially for cats. His main focus was on sounds and noises that the fur noses find relaxing and confidence-inspiring; in addition to the cozy purring of the cat mother, this is the sucking noise when drinking milk of the little kittens. In addition, the cat's ears perceive much higher pitches than the human ear. That is why Teie has incorporated high harp sounds in his compositions that are reminiscent of twittering birds. So that the music for cats is also pleasant for human ears, he also added cello and violin, which the velvet paws at least do not consider disturbing.

In a study published in 2015 in the journal "Applied Animal Behavior Science", scientists played cats classical music on the one hand, and the sounds specially composed for them on the other. The velvet paws did not react to the classic, it did not seem to interest them further. However, 77 percent of the house tigers reacted positively or relaxed to the cat music. They approached the speakers, sniffed them curiously and nudged them with their heads.

If you want to know what cat music sounds like, you can listen to David Teie's video for "Music for Cats":

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