Ever wondered why your cat doesn’t share your appreciation for Sam Smith or doesn’t dance along to Taylor Swift with you? According to new research, it’s because while cats do enjoy music, they don’t enjoy human music.
A study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science believes that for our feline friends to enjoy music, it has to be species-specific music.
According to the study’s authors, Megan Savage and Charles Snowdon, the trick to get pets to listen to music, is composing a piece that fits into how the animal communicates. “We have developed a theoretical framework that hypothesises that 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.”
To test their theory, the researchers went to musician David Teie to compose songs that would fit into those parameters. This lead to the tracks ‘Cozmo’s Air’ and ‘Spooks Ditty’. They played the music to 47 different domestic cats and compared the felines’ reactions to two human songs: Bach’s ‘Air on a G String’ and Gabriel Fauré’s ‘Elgie’.
They found that the cats showed a “significant preference for and interest in” the cat-appropriate music, compared to the two human pieces that they played, which they didn’t respond to at all. The study also found that a better reaction was given by younger or older cats, rather than middle-aged felines.
The scientists concluded that it’s important for cat lovers to consider their pets’ musical needs and not just pick any old playlist. “It is not sufficient to simply turn on a radio or play some classical music in a laboratory or shelter and assume acoustic enrichment needs are being met,” they write. “Auditory enrichment must be appropriate for the species and for the goals of enrichment.”
They added that the results “suggest novel and more appropriate ways for using music auditory enrichment for nonhuman animals”. To be honest, we’re mainly hoping we’re going to see a host of musicians releasing cat-friendly albums, perhaps Meowley Cyrus?
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