New York, March 11: Don’t force your cat to listen to Mozart symphonies or A.R. Rahman’s chartbusters because they will pay heed to only their type of “cat music”. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison show that while cats ignore human music, they are highly responsive to “music” written especially for them. “We are not actually replicating cat sounds. We are trying to create music with a pitch and tempo that appeals to cats,” said lead author Charles Snowdon, an emeritus professor of psychology.
The first step in making cat music is “to evaluate music in the context of the animal’s sensory system”. Cats, for example, vocalise one octave higher than people. “So it is vital to get the pitch right. Then we tried to create music that would have a tempo that was appealing to cats,” Snowdon added.
One sample was based on the tempo of purring, the other on the sucking sound made during nursing. In the tests, Snowdon and team brought a laptop and two speakers to the homes of 47 cats and played four sound samples: two from classical music and two “cat songs” created by the University of Maryland composer David Teie. The music began after a period of silence, and the cat’s behaviour was noted. (ians)