A few years ago, scientists from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and the University of Maryland, wanted to study whether cats could respond to music. And so they created some music especially for feline sensibilities, as described in THIS ARTICLE outlining the whole study. It describes how Charles Snowdon and the other researchers looked at the natural vocalisations of cats and matched music to that frequency range, which is about an octave or more higher than human voices. Upon learning that cats use sliding frequencies in their calls to each other, the team incorporated more sliding notes in the cat music composition than you’d find in human music.
In the cat music, the team replicated the tempo of things that would attract a cat’s attention – one song featured a purring tempo, and another featured a suckling tempo. You can hear a sample of one of their songs, Cozmo’s Air, which does sound like a pretty cool Hep Cats kind of tune. In the study, the cat songs were played back to 47 domestic cats. The researchers watched how the felines reacted to this music, compared to their response when they listened to two classical human songs – Johann Sebastian Bach’s Air on a G String and Gabriel Fauré’s Elegie. Publishing in the journal Applied Animal Behavioural Science, the team reported that the cats didn’t respond at all to the human music. However, when the cat music started up, the kitties became aroused and approached the speakers, often rubbing their cheek scent glands on the speakers.
It was actually several years before this university study was done that the composing team of Joshua Leeds and Lisa Spector pioneered the development of species-specific calming music. First they designed their “Through a Dog’s Ear” music series, and then followed it with their “Through a Cat’s Ear,” which was designed to have a positive calming effect for cats suffering from stress, fear. howling, loneliness and sleep disturbance. Apparently other “animal composers” have sprung up on the internet as well, selling their feline tunes online. There are many practical applications of music composed specifically for cats, one use being to play it at home for cats left alone all day. The most compelling benefit would be to play it in the cat area of a shelter, to lower the stress that cats naturally suffer there.
And thinking about the welfare of kitties in shelters, keep in mind that for every purchase you make, Halo donates a bowl of food to a shelter to help nourish and transform shelter pets with good nutrition, giving them their very best chance at a forever home. #HaloFeedItForward.
While there’s now music that helps pets when they listen to it, there’s also music that helps animals in a different way. Check out Halo’s jingle to benefit animal rescue (consider yourself warned, it’s very hard to stop singing it!).
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.