What Kind of Music Does Your Cat Like? Science Tackles the Tough Questions
Chamber Meowsic? Contempurrary? The screams of lesser beings as their souls descend to hell?
Of all the cat-queries I’d like science to answer (how have I earned their eternal contempt, for starters), “what kind of tunes do cats like to jam out to?” seems like kind of a low-priority question. Maybe that’s why I’m being shunned?
For a study published last September in Applied Animal Behavior Science, researchers Charles T. Snowdon, David Teie, and Megan Savage hypothesized 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.”
Using that criteria, the researchers then composed “species-appropriate” cat music and presented two examples of “cat music” and two examples of “human music” (admittedly a pretty broad category) to domestic cats and evaluated their response.
The team determined that domestic cats (especially juvenile and elderly subjects) showed a “significant preference for and interest in” species-appropriate music, and suggest that the findings can be used to devise “novel and more appropriate ways for using music as auditory enrichment for nonhuman animals.”
If you’re interested in making a mixtape for your own cat, you can check out the kitty ditties over on Discover (I’ll give the track my human stamp of approval, as well. Turns out cat music is a pretty great ASMR trigger.) Just don’t be surprised if your cat is a totally pretentious listening buddy–if you’d been revered in Ancient Egypt, you’d probably know everyone’s early work, too.