Cats actually do enjoy music, but they prefer songs that sound like they were written with them in mind.
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin created music that matched the same frequency range of cat vocalizations — about an octave or more higher than humans, reported Discovery News.
“We incorporated tempos that we thought cats would find interesting — the tempo of purring in one piece and the tempo of suckling in another — and since cats use lots of sliding frequencies in their calls, the cat music had many more sliding notes than the human music,” said Charles Snowdon, the lead author of the study, which was accepted for publication by the journal Applied Animal Behavioral Science.
The researchers found that cats approached the speaker, and often rubbed up against it, when their music was on.
Snowdon and his colleague, Megan Savage, worked with composer and musician David Teie to create the cat music, which is available for download at 99 cents per song.
They played the compositions for 47 domestic cats and their owners at their homes, and they also played two pieces of human music — Gabriel Fauré’s Elegie and Johann Sebastian Bach’s Air on a G String.
The cats pretty much ignored the relaxing classical compositions, but they rubbed the sides of their heads against the speakers – which the researchers took to mean the animals were “claiming” the music.
Younger and older cats seemed to respond more to the music than middle-aged cats, the researchers found.
The researchers think their findings could benefit shelter cats, especially when they have grown accustomed to humans.
“We think of cats as highly independent of their human servants, but there is some research showing that cats experience separation anxiety, which is greater in human-raised cats than in feral cats,” Snowdon said.
Research has found that some species of zoo animals do enjoy music, and they generally prefer classical music to more dissonant modern styles.
Listen to a sample posted online by Cole and Marmalade: