First of all, you may be surprised to find that cats give a hoot about music at all. I mean, technically they don’t much care about anything really, as they are the ultimate zen-masters of the animal kingdom. But research shows that Mr. Pickles does, in fact, have a preference when it comes to certain types of music. Maybe not enough of a preference to ask him about his thoughts on the latest from Beyonce, or whether or not he thinks Joy Division is “too mainstream to enjoy properly anymore”, or even if it’s ethical to auto-tune over any dubious vocals. But scientists say that when it comes to a cat’s auditory senses, he’s definitely more in-tune than you may think.
All coffee shop music-talk snobbery aside, the results are in. According to a recent study, the type of tunage that cats have been recorded as showing a special affinity for is what’s known as “species-specific” sounds. Meaning, cats enjoy listening to music and other sounds that reflect their own communicative noises, in everything from tone to tempo. Calm, slow songs that are written in this range have been reported to have the most profound effect on our beloved musical connoisseurs. So when you’re searching for some songs to play for the benefit of your snugglewumps, think more Sigur Ros or Explosions in the Sky (ya know, mellow stuff) and maybe less Blondie or Rolling Stones.
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How Music Can Help Your Cat
But what does all this mean, and how can we use it to benefit our furbabies? The practical implications are surprisingly beneficial. Does your cat TOTALLY FREAKING LOSE IT when you try to give her a bath? Are you fostering a particularly skittish honeypuss who’s having trouble acclimating to her new surroundings? Is your cat a big ol’ Nervous Nelly in general? Pump up the jams, my friend. Quietly blast those scientifically-proven cat-approved tunes for the benefit of your baby beans. You’ll be surprised at how your cat’s attitude can change with the right track. For instance, when taking Lula or Marzipan to the vet, I’ve got a special CD of kitty-friendly music for the ride. While it doesn’t totally keep them from whining or wriggling around in their carriers, it does create a much calmer, cat-friendly environment for the duration of the ride, which is a far cry from screeching down the highway, windows down and Bikini Kill cranked to 100.
But what if getting your cat to chill isn’t on the agenda? Maybe you have a tubby, overweight babe who needs some encouragement to run around and exercise. Don’t worry, there’s a science behind that too, when it comes to music and cats.
Cats Love Nature Sounds
Aside from enjoying music that resembles their own communicative vocalizations which put them at ease, cats also respond to more upbeat music, akin to something like birds chirping or other natural sounds. “Spooks Ditty” by io9 is a chipper, tinkly track that has garnered a particularly responsive reaction from it’s feline audience. Cats who hear this kind of music are more inclined to engage in playful activities, and are noted as being much more alert and energetic in general.
Now that you’re an expert on the cat jazz, consider rolling out the victrola and putting on some soothing kitty jim-jamz for your wee puddin’ cup. She might just warm up to it (which in cat terms, means she’ll probably just not hate it). Even if your cat isn’t responding with the most gusto you’ve ever seen before, be sure that the most discerning four-legged music snob will appreciate such an embellishment to her environment, weather she needs to chill out or get some much-needed cardio.