As more animal shelters, primate centers and zoos start to play music for their charges, it’s still not clear whether and how human music affects animals.
Now, a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that while cats ignore our music, they are highly responsive to “music” written especially for them. The study is online at Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
“We are not actually replicating cat sounds,” says lead author Charles Snowdon, an emeritus professor of psychology. “We are trying to create music with a pitch and tempo that appeals to cats.”
The first step in making cat music is “to evaluate music in the context of the animal’s sensory system,” he says. Cats, for example, vocalize one octave higher than people, “So it’s vital to get the pitch right. Then we tried to create music that would have a tempo that was appealing to cats.” One sample was based on the tempo of purring, the other on the sucking sound made during nursing...
h/t Gary Rumain