I was contacted by a promoter of perhaps the best cat music you can buy on the market. It has been composed “scientifically” by a talented cellist with a distinguished career, David Teie. He has a long list of accomplishments. He is credentials for writing cat music are unsurpassed. If his version of cat music doesn’t work nothing will.
You can play a sample of his cat music on his website. I tested it on my cat who at least responded. He pricked his ears and appeared to listen. The testimonials report similar responses. Perhaps you can try it out yourselves with your cat and report back in a comment. I’d be interested to hear.
His music is based on “his universal theory of music: The idea that music taps directly into our emotional core by remixing the sounds that marinated our developing brains in the womb.” (quoting Sadie Dingfelder in the Washington Post).
David Teie appears to have worked with Dr. Charles Snowdon, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in creating music for cats. There has been an approach to this which is as scientific as can be.
The elephant in the room of cat music is that at the end of the day we don’t know what a cat is thinking or feeling when he/she hears cat music. Responding to it in a variety of ways does not mean a cat enjoys it or is relaxed by it. A cat might seem relaxed during the music but he might be relaxed for other reasons. Being stimulated by the sound of music does not mean the emotional response is enjoyable. In short, it is impossible, I would have thought, to apply hard science to assessing whether cats enjoy music. Currently, with our level of knowledge, I don’t believe you can apply science to be sure one is creating sounds that stimulate cats, can you? Music is about an emotional response. We are still learning about cat emotions and have a long way to go.
Here lies the problem for me. I want to believe that cats hear music and derive emotional benefit from it. It would be great to be able to entertain our cats with music. It would be a wonderful addition to our armoury of ways to enrich the lives of our cats, which can be a bit of a challenge sometimes. But we are not sure what is going on in a cat’s brain when (s)he responds to cat music.
That is the bottom line for me: we don’t know if cats appreciate music no matter how professionally it has been prepared and David Teie’s is probably the best on the market.
It could be argued that even the concept of cat music begs the question whether music is a human invention for the enjoyment of humans. I don’t know the answer to that. I’d like to think that all animals including the human animal have the potential to enjoy music equally; it’s just a question of discovering what type of music certain species prefer. However, I don’t know of any science which has conclusively ascertained that all animals including cats appreciate the concept of music.
I sense that despite the genuine and good intentions to improve the lives of the domestic cat, the development of cat music is driven by the need for humans to make money. That too is a deep, primal and universal theory….
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