Get ready to add a new playlist to your iPod! A study published in the Journal Biology Letters of the Royal Society in September 2009 has resulted in the creation of species-specific music. That’s right, they’ve created music specifically for cats (and other animals too)!
The study, co-authored by Professor Charles T. Snowdon and David Teie, first studied the way that humans listen to music. They discovered that “human music” is tailored to fit the natural emotional and physiological responses of human beings. The instruments in human music mimic the sounds of human voices and the rhythms that of human heartbeats. Certain sounds create certain emotional responses – responses which are built into us. The example they used was that if a human hears a sudden human scream, the human’s heartbeat will naturally increase. There is no such physiological response to a squirrel’s distress call.
Monkeying Around with Music
The hypothesis was became that animals would respond to music that mimicked their vocal range and sounds as well as their heartbeat. Snowdon and Teie tested their hypothesis on cotton-topped tamarin monkeys. The monkeys showed little to no interest to human music. However, on a slightly humorous note, the monkeys did show more interest in Mozart’s music than that of German Techno bands. Mozart would be proud. The monkeys did however react with interest to music that was composed specifically for them. The scientists were able to get an excited reaction with faster music and a more relaxed reaction with slower music. Snowdon and Teie felt that their study was a great success and are continuing to study other species of animals.
Just for Cats!
Cats are the first to have their species-specific music for sale. It is sold on iTunes and through a website appropriately called Music for Cats. They offer faster music which they call “Kitty Ditties”, slower music called “Cat Ballads,” and music designed to sympathy from your cat called “Feline Airs.” These songs feature some instruments that humans would be familar with as well as the sounds of cats purring, suckling, and mouse-like squeaks. The website says that they are looking for feedback on the songs and will even consider naming a song after your cat as a thank you for your feedback.
Click the links below to hear samples from Music for Cats.
Playful Kitty’s Test Results
I played each of the sample for my cats. First I tried to play them through my headphones on the chair next to where Manna was sitting. Not much response. Then I unplugged the headphones and let the samples play through the computer speakers. Both Cinco and Manna immediately showed interest. Cinco walked over to the computer from across the room. I could just see the wheels in his head spinning as he listened to each sample. Manna seemed confused. She stood on the chair listening and nervously grooming herself with intermittent gazes up toward the computer. Cosmo’s Air seemed to elicit the strongest response.