Singing at an opera - photo by fofurasfelinas, the best cat photographer on Flickr.
Singing cats are a YouTube invention. I'll be a bit of a prude and say that I find the videos of "cats singing" a bit demeaning for the cat and I don't really like them. They are just another example of how we use or take from the cat to entertain us so I'd like to talk about that fairly briefly before discussing something more interesting and something that might give something to the cat or entertain the cat instead, namely Singing to Cats. Singing cats come in two basic flavors, the sounds that cats make that can be interpreted as human speech (with a bit of imagination), which is not singing quite obviously, or cats at windows chattering. Cats at windows chattering are quite a common sight. A lot of us have seen it. It is in fact the wildcat side of a domestic cat showing itself to our world.
When a cat sees a bird through the window, while perhaps sitting on a cat window seat, it might become excited enough to practice its bite into the nape of the neck1 of the bird to severe the spinal cord to kill the bird (in anticipation of doing it). A cat can feel the exact position with its mouth and whiskers (vibrissae). While practicing this precise action the cat makes a chattering sound. On the right is a classic and well viewed video of this in small format.
Now what about singing to cats? Ruth gave me the idea. There is nothing or almost nothing on the internet about it so this is a new concept. But there is a Music CD that is specifically for cats to enjoy.
Who sings to cats and why and is it useful? Ruth does. And I do sometimes. I did it this morning. I think it might well be useful as a means to reassure a cat and make it calm. When we stroke a cat we replicate the licking action of a mother cat grooming her young. Domestic cats are perpetual kittens and we are the Mum. So when we stroke we lick.
When a mother cat is nursing her young the young might purr while actually nursing (purring can be done at the same time as drinking - how do cats purr) and the mother will purr back as a reassurance. Purring also takes place at many other times not just as a sign of contentment. It has even taken place when a cat is about to die2. This I think is a cat looking for reassurance. But if we sing to cats we are getting pretty close to purring to them if (as I expect) the song is a lullaby of sorts.
So, if we sing to cats quietly and softly it may replicate the soft reassuring purr of the mother. It also makes us feel good! After all we sing to our babies to put them to sleep and as I have said our cats are our little fur babies to use an American expression. Do you sing to your cat and if so I'd like to hear why.From Singing Cats to PoC Forum