Cat music: scientists optimise tunes for tabbies

Music includes sounds cats enjoy, such as purring and suckling, and could be used to help shelter animals

Scientists have teamed up with a composer to develop the perfect music for cats, in a new study into species-specific music.

Psychologist Charles Snowdon and colleague Megan Savage worked with composer and musician David Teie, who plays with the National Symphony Orchestra and the heavy metal band Metallica.

They mimicked the sound patterns naturally found in feline communication, such as purring and suckling, to create music that would appeal to cats.

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"We looked at the natural vocalisations of cats and matched out music to the same frequency range, which is about an octave or more higher than human voices," Snowdon told Discovery News.

The team tested 47 domestic cats in their own homes, playing them both "human music" including Bach's Air on a G String – which they ignored – as well as the cat music.

"Here we found that cats showed orientation and approach behaviour toward the speaker with the cat music, often rubbing against the speaker while the music was on," said Snowdon.

He told the Daily Mirror that people who have animals at home should "be thinking about what their pets need not from a human perspective but from a good appreciation of what is best for their animals".

The findings could help create soundtracks to calm abandoned cats at shelters or pets facing stressful situations. Researchers hope that further studies into species-specific music may help improve life for more animals in captivity.

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