We know that music can have therapeutic benefits for humans, but did you know that the right melody can have the same effects on cats, and help them feel a sense of well-being? American researchers have composed a piece of music especially designed for our feline friends. And it’s something fairly particular, to say the least!
In 2015, in order to determine whether cats could react to music, scientists from the Universities of Wisconsin, Madison and Maryland in the States composed “cat-centred music”. “We examined cats’ natural vocalisations and we adapted our music to the same range of frequencies, which is around one octave higher than a human voice”, explained the main author of the study, Charles Snowdon, in 2015. The scientists also included tempos based on sounds that would be familiar to cats, such as the sound of purring or lapping, contrary to human music, in which the beating of the drum often echoes the beating of our hearts.
Music especially designed for cats was played to 47 domestic cats. The cats were also exposed to pieces of ‘human’ classical music –Air on the G String by Johann Sebastian Bach, and Elegie by Gabriel Fauré. Published in Applied Animal Behavioral Science, the team reported that cats don’t respond at all to human music. However, when it came to the music especially designed for them, the cats became very excited, moved close to the loudspeakers and rubbed the speakers with their noses, which were signs that the music provoked a real sensation of well-being.
If the idea of composing music for cats may appear a little useless at first, this research could in fact allow for developing new ways of calming down distressed cats in shelters, cat kennels and in veterinary surgeries. If you want to try out the benefits of this music for yourself or your four legged friend, here is an extract: