Music for Cats: Understanding the Secrets of Feline Harmony

music for cats
Jeremy Vaughn
Written by Jeremy Vaughn

In every era and society worldwide, music has enabled people to express their feelings and connect with others. When it comes to animals, research suggests that music affects them the same way as humans. However, not just any music will do. The music we listen to was made for human ears. In the same manner, your cat will enjoy music for cats that was made for a cat’s ears.

For cat owners, it may be easy to assume that our feline friends would enjoy what we enjoy. However, it is best to keep in mind that because of their highly developed hearing abilities and unique way of processing information, the type of music your cat enjoys is different from what you enjoy. Music for cats should, therefore, be specifically designed based on their natural biological traits and responses.

In this article, we will be doing an in-depth analysis of how music affects the physiology, behavior, and well-being of your feline buddies. We shall try to see this form of art from a cat’s perspective, so that you may know how to positively utilize the benefits that music can bring, and use these to further improve the well-being of your pet.

Do Cats Like Music?

cat playing the piano

Have you ever noticed how your cat reacts whenever you play your favorite soundtrack? If you did, then you might have noted how your cat ignores your music no matter how loud the beat drops. This begs the question: Do cats like music?

When you go to zoos or animal shelters, you may notice how music is played for their animal inhabitants. While some classical music may seem pleasant to the ears of most animals, recent studies show that cats are commonly oblivious to human music.

This sort of indifference does not necessarily mean they hate music altogether. In fact, most cats are considered music lovers. However, because of a cat’s language, behavior, and perceptions are totally different from that of humans, it is quite understandable how their taste in music is much different from ours.

So if cats don’t appreciate music the same way that humans do, is there a special kind of music created for felines? The answer is a resounding yes! There is music, specially made for cats.

What Kind of Music Do Cats Like?

cat and musical instrument

Felines have been endowed with remarkably sharp senses, and are much more sensitive to sounds than us humans. Their whiskers are highly sensitive to even the slightest vibrations. They are also fortunate enough to have an incredibly developed sense of hearing.

These factors may explain why your kitty finds your favorite tune a little too loud or feel like your music comes with too much bass.

Research shows that putting these factors into consideration when creating music for your felines, such as catering to their senses or the way they communicate, entirely changes your cat’s overall experience of music.

Studies show that when played the appropriate music, your cats can display obvious enjoyment in their behavior. Some are even so delighted that they rub themselves against speakers or amplifiers as they purr.

The secret of cat music is that it comes with notes that are similar in frequency, pitch, and volume to the notes your cat may purr to, or the high and low pitched sound they communicate with, like meowing.

With a hearing range of about 55 Hz on a low-pitched scale and approximately 79kHz on a high-pitched scale, cats can actually hear 1.6 high-frequency octaves more than we do. This can only mean that for your cat to appreciate and enjoy music, it has to be in a specific frequency.

Because many scientists are also cat-lovers, they have been conducting research into which type of music felines like. The recent discoveries which prove that music appreciation differs amongst species are helping researchers in identifying which type of music is appropriate for each.

While researchers continue looking into which type of music cats like, there are some music composers who successfully created original cat music. One good example of this is a track called Cozmo’s Air, which was created by a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin as a relaxing music for cats.

Choosing the Right Music for Your Cats

cat playing music

It is a well-known fact that music provides numerous benefits to human beings. It can decrease stress levels and stimulate the release of dopamine, which is also known as a “feel-good” neurotransmitter. And since it has a lot of positive effects on humans, it’s just natural to assume that cats can enjoy these positive effects of music as well.

While it’s true that cats can enjoy listening to music as much as we do, they would prefer those which are specifically chosen for them, like classical music.

For this reason, there are certain factors you will need to consider before introducing music to your cat:

#1: Calming Music and Enriching Music

Experts recommend two types of music to play to your cats: calming music to reduce stress and enriching music for stimulation. Avoid any sound that might trigger negative emotions, as this may just result in more harm than good. Choose calming music that has lower tones, minimal use of instrumentations, and slow tempo.

#2: Incorporate Your Cat’s Natural Acoustic Range

cat listening to music and singing

Analyzing your pet’s preferred acoustic range can help you with narrowing down which sounds will reverberate with them the most. Consider how the music we listen to are those with up and down pitches that are pleasant to our ears. Cats, like humans, have a specific acoustic range that works best for them.

Your cat’s meow is higher than a human’s voice on low range, and this is why your cat may respond better to vocalizations in the higher range.

In addition to this, sounds that mimic purring sounds can also be incorporated into a feline’s musical experience. You can do this by searching for sounds that produce vibrations that can be physically felt, or speakers that vibrate with the music.

You may find that your cat will enjoy this immensely and rub their bodies against the source of vibration.

#3: Choose Sounds that are Natural to Cats

Many humans like using natural sounds such as heartbeats, waterfalls, ocean or rain sounds, or chirping birds and incorporate these to their music. The good news is that your cat is likely to appreciate these natural sounds as well.

Because these are normally heard in nature and not limited to human experience, playing this type of music will prove to be relaxing to your cat.

When it comes to the choice of instruments, a guitar is a preferred choice due to its ability to be played softly.

#4: Species-Specific Music

at listening to music in headphones

Choose species-specific music when purchasing a CD or downloading songs for your cat. Species-specific music is created for a specific type of animal. An example of this is “Music for Cats,” a series of compositions that are specifically for cats.

When leaving your cat at home while you work, or having someone look after them, having feline-appropriate music available to play for them will give your pet the kind of calm relaxation they need while you’re away. Just keep in mind that each cat is an individual and they all respond differently to the same music, so take pains in choosing what works best for your cat.

See Also: Cat Breeds with Big Ears

Benefits of Music for Your Cat

cat sleeping calmly

In reality, there are many benefits in introducing your feline to the music world. Aside from the soothing and relaxing benefits of listening to cat-appropriate music, there are many other bigger ways music can create an impact on the life of your feline friend.

Music therapy helps cats who suffer from various feline medical conditions. Sounds and sonic vibrations affect how cats feel and respond to their environment. Many times, external stimulants in the environment such as loud, sudden noises, thunder, loud music, and other factors can cause your pet to feel negative emotions like fear, panic, and anxiety.

Even strange, unfamiliar sounds such as another feline’s vocalization can suddenly put your cat’s tail in a twist. Scientific research shows that feline interstitial cystitis, which happens to be one of the leading causes of euthanasia, is caused by stress.

This is where music therapy comes in. By playing pleasant music, unpleasant sounds can be masked. In addition to this, the rhythmical flow influences and speeds up the natural body rhythm, thus either energizing or calming down the listener.

  • According to experts, an hour of calming music can do wonders if your cat happens to be scared or anxious. On the other hand, indoor cats will do well with enriching music.

  • Music is also recommended for kitties who are suffering from anxiety-related disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, feline interstitial cystitis, or herpes.

  • Listening to music is also helpful for cats with any chronic condition which creates stress such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, or cancer.

  • Music is also beneficial for feral cats, and this is by helping previously abused and neglected cats regain and develop confidence with their human companions.

How to Make Up a Cute Song About Your Cat

cat on the piano

While some people might call it a bit weird, composing and singing songs about your cat can be a lot of fun! Once you’ve composed a song that features your feline buddy, you’ll have a great time playing or singing it to them. And since a cat can sometimes sense if a song is all about them, your cat will surely enjoy the attention.

Sometimes, you might find that the lyrics make no sense. Don’t fret. That’s actually half the fun of it. After all, making music is a great experience and a mood lifter, and your happiness will surely transcend to your cat.

#1: Pick a Tune

If you don’t feel like composing an original tune, there are numerous tunes you can experiment with. Just try and pick something that is familiar. It can be as simple as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star or a lively cut from Beyoncé’s Single Ladies. It depends on your mood.

Once you’ve chosen a tune of your liking, it’s much easier to start working on your cat lyrics.

Try putting new words to familiar melodies. It can be about cats in general or specifically for your special kitty. Keep experimenting until the words fit with the tune.

#2: Choose a Minor or Major Key

Major tunes generally have a happy and lively sound. On the other hand, some songs have a darker tone. This represents the minor key. You may also want to pick songs that have parts that mimic a prowling sound, which cats can easily relate with.

#3: Give Your Song a Catchy and Unique Refrain

The refrain or chorus is the part of the song that is often repeated. This is why this should be the best part, and therefore should be catchy. It will be a great idea to mention the name of your feline during this part. It’s sure to catch their attention.

#4: Pick a Beat or Tempo that Matches Your Cat’s Personality

Is your cat lazy? Energetic? Make the speed of your song match the personality of your pet. A street smart baby tabby, a sleepy Norwegian Forest Cat, and a hyperactive Bengal should all have different sounding songs.

#5: Consider Dynamics – Soft or Loud?

Is your cat’s personality too big to be easily contained? Maybe their trademark song should be loud and strong. On the other hand, if your feline happens to be sweet and shy, perhaps a soft and tender song will fit them better.

Dynamics should vary within most music, and of course, you will need the contrast. A song that is too loud may be too much. And maybe you will need to make a little tweak and add some vibration.

What’s important is to have fun doing it for now. After all, you know your cat best, and for sure, you’ll be able to create a song that will suit your feline friend perfectly.

Just remember to make the song interesting by having fun playing with the lyrics and melody. You may find you’ll have many hours of amazing fun ahead for you and your little buddy.

Wrap Up

cat playing the piano

While music undoubtedly brings joy to our lives, communicates our emotions, and just gives us a reprieve from this fast-paced world, we cannot safely assume that it affects cats the same way.

Remember that your favorite playlist was designed for human ears, and your feline buddy won’t process music like the way you do. Felines have their unique way of processing various sensory information, and this is evident in their advanced hearing abilities.

Given the fact that music for cats is different from that which entertains humans, there is still no doubt that felines do enjoy music. With continuing research and tests being done to determine the type of music that benefits the species, more and more cat-owners are discovering ways to play the perfect songs for their beloved kitties.

Needless to say, there are numerous benefits feline-appropriate music can offer to your pets—to soothe their fears and pains, stimulate their senses, and simply enrich and add meaning to their existence.

While it may be true that your cat has a different taste in music as compared to humans, it doesn’t mean music can’t do equal wonders in both worlds.

Have you found the perfect music for your cat? Do you know of music that, although was made for humans, your cat actually loves? Let us know in the comments section below. Plus, check out our next article on anemia in cats. If your cat is looking and feeling down, it may have something to do with that.

About the author
Jeremy Vaughn
Jeremy Vaughn

Jeremy Vaughn is a member of Canadian Professional Pet Stylists, who lives in Winnipeg. Creating new looks for cats and other pets is his passion. Jeremy shares his house with the wife and wonderful Siamese cat.