I came across Music for Cats, a Kickstarter campaign, some time ago. As someone who is a roommate (or more accurately, a lowly caretaker) to three cats, I was intrigued.
Music for Cats was born out of David Teie's scientific theory that all mammals have a fundamental appreciation for music. The initial goal is to bring about scientifically credible music to as many members of the animal kingdom as possible. Because you have to start somewhere, cats were chosen since they are a lot easier to study than rhinos, whales, or polar bears. And let's be honest; dogs aren't as discerning as cats. If you want to test out a music theory on a house pet, cats are the obvious choice (although, I know a few goldfish with serious Beethoven fixations).
About the Project
The Music for Cats project struggled for six years, but the success of the recent Kickstarter campaign changed all that. Over 10,000 backers pledged more than $240,000 to help bring the project to life. In fact, the first album has already been made and is available on the website, musicforcats.com.
The creator of Music for Cats, David Teie, is the conductor and music director of the Washington D.C chamber orchestra, the Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, and also serves on the faculty at University of Maryland's School of Music. Teie contends that mammals, just like humans, have a built-in biological response to the sounds of their early development. For cats, these sounds are those of birds chirping or their mother's purr. Building on this theory, he composed music that incorporated “feline-centric sounds” as well as their natural vocalizations. Independent researchers from the University of Wisconsin conducted a study, which was published in the journal Applied Animal Behavior, that confirmed the music is attractive to cats. They wrote, “cats showed a significant preference for and interest in species-appropriate music."
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Cats and the Music
While it might not sound like much to humans, I can say that my cats did seem at least mildly interested in the composition I purchased for them. I don’t know if I could say that they enjoyed it, but they certainly noticed that it was playing--they swiveled their ears and looked around--which is more than I can say about their response to music made for humans. I did only purchase one song, “Cozmo’s Air" as opposed to a whole album, but I wanted to try it out first. I can’t say that I will purchase an entire album--my cats are honestly spoiled enough--but I think Music for Cats might be a good investment for households with only one cat, or those with a cat suffering from boredom or having other behavioral issues.
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Image: Cat and Music Speakers via Shutterstock