Does Music And Radio Chat Calm The Nervous Cat?

Music for Cats
Music for Cats
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There are a lot of things about cats that we don’t understand. Jo Singer made that point in a recent article and I believe we have to accept and respected it, until and if we know more.
This last 2 hours. Try it and see!

Cats do have a very good sense of hearing. You can buy music online written for cats. But, to be honest, the manufacturers of the music cannot honestly say that they know for sure what sort of music cats likes. Although I do not know for sure, it would seem that the music that one can buy online created for the domestic cat is a little bit too much like modified human music and we may be projecting our thoughts and ideas onto the cat.

Research has been done on how animals in general respond to music and it has been decided that animals do respond to music. I’m not sure that we know for sure that an animal actually likes music. Responding and liking are different, of course.

My own experience is that my cat does respond to the sound of a chat show on the radio. I believe he likes it. Early in the morning when I wake up I turn on the radio and listen to a chat show that covers news and human stories. If my cat is not on my bed at the time, he comes to it after the radio is turned on. My impression is that he thinks that I am talking. Perhaps he thinks that I’m talking to him and calling him. I don’t know. But it would indicate to me that if I am not in my home for a while it may be a good idea to leave the radio on. I have no experience whatsoever of a cat liking music, even music designed for a cat.

However, a recent post in the San Jose Mercury News entitled “Music Charms the Nervous Cat”, a lady, Lisa Morris, states that her cat likes music. She makes that judgement based on her cat’s behaviour when music is being played. She states that her cat, Lizzie, is nervous because of possible past abuse in a previous home. She accidentally discovered that soothing music helped her to calm down. She states that when she has music on her Kindle, Lizzie would come up and lie near the device and it would calm her down.

Also, Lisa noticed that when she was watching television, Lizzie would get up onto the television stand and place herself next to the television. Sometimes she would lie only a few inches away from the speakers. Lizzie, apparently, particularly liked, “The Phantom Of The Opera”. She stayed close to the television throughout this movie.

It seems that the only information that we have about cats liking music is anecdotal, from cat owners. The domestic cat’s auditory range is different to ours. A cat can hear between frequencies of between 45-64,000 Hertz, while the human hears between frequencies of 64-23,000. Mice have very high frequency squeaks that humans cannot hear sometimes, while the cat can, and it is unsurprising that the cat can detect high frequencies because the mice is the primary prey of the domestic cat. It would seem to be agreed that if cats like music it will be completely different to the sort of music that we like.

Some pet behaviorists suggest that we should play music when we are away from our home or leave the radio on. I rarely do this and I wonder how many cat owners do it? Not many, I suspect.

This really is about knowledge and at present we simply do not have sufficient knowledge about cat emotions and their likes and dislikes of the things that people like. There is one certainty: any sounds that we deliberately create for the benefit of our cat should not be too loud because of the cat’s sensitivity to sound.

If we have to rely on cat owner’s anecdotal evidence, we could do worse than reading Amazon reviews. Out of 6 reviews for one cat music CD, two said that their cats liked the music, one said that their cat liked the radio and 3 said that they liked the music! That sums up the situation, in my opinion. We don’t know and on that basis, personally, I would not buy “cat music”. Chat shows on the radio are another matter, however, because we know that the domestic cat responds to human sounds due to socialisation.

22 thoughts on “Does Music And Radio Chat Calm The Nervous Cat?”

  1. I leave the sound off with mine because I want them to hear the birds and things outside. Sometimes at night I put on sounds of birds or rainforest etc because at night its quiet out anyway. But it’s also important they can hear whats going on in the whole apartment.

  2. Okay, first of all, remember that these are averages. Every humna, every cat, has their individual range. I believe that these can vary quite a bit, due to the individual’s cool individuality. 🙂 (for example, Cal can hear far beyond what she is “supposed” to hear in the upper frequencies. My cats seem to vary quite a bit, too. This is an interesting phenomena. The atypical characteristics, I mean.

    Shrimp was most definitely abused on the farm where I was “forced” by the farmer to take him, along with Luna, his female sibling (who I was there for). Shrimpster, for those who don’t know, was immediately, on a Saturday evening, taken to the Emergency Clinic. He barely made it: upper/lower resp. infections and emaciated, big infected wound on the nape of his neck. Anyway, Shrimp ended up happy, shy, busy, highly intelligent and the most laidback ginger tabby you can imagine. And yet, he is very particular about certain things, one of those being his music orientation/likes. Very! particular. Turns out, after I personally tested him as best I could, he does not tolerate the laws nor highs that we appreciate in our classical, opera, rock, country, alternative, bluegrass, celtic, “you name it.” I do know that he is particularly fond of REM and Nick Drake, Frederica von Stade and most Blues. Oh, and he really likes Barry White. although I’m not sure why…? maybe because he doesn’t have a choice? 😉
    FUN article! I will certainly go back now and find wander over to Jo’s earlier mention… <3

  3. Monty and I have been enjoying what I call our “Beethoven concerts” almost every evening. Jeff has been working late. I have been dealing with debilitating anxiety in the aftermath of my Cipro poisoning. But listening to Beethoven’s music helps. That’s how I dealt with stress as a teen, so it a connection to my past. Some of my Beethoven music is on records! Monty gets all comfy during the music, but every time I have to change the record he sits up and watches. When the music starts he gets comfortable again. I think he really enjoys our evening’s listening. He seems to prefer orchestral music to piano. But who knows? Maybe he just enjoys my company and sleeping up in his cat suspended cat furniture. We have our “concerts” in the back room.

    • Ruth, I am going to put on my Beethoven cd’s, because of you. I hope that this therapy is working for you, for you most certainly darn well deserve to fully recover from that trauma. (I haven’t forgotten what you said.) Monty is well-trained as a classical listener, isn’t he? 😉

      • He seems to respond to faster, more vigorous sections of the music at times. He will run across his little bridges or jump down only to fly back up there. One night I had a record of piano sonatas playing and he came down, sat by me and meowed. I put on orchestral music right after that and he ran up there and got comfortable. He does seem to respond directly to the music and to have preferences. My husband still argues animals don’t have souls. But how could Monty respond to music if he did not have a soul? Music affects the brain, no doubt, but it also speaks to your soul. That’s why it’s so healing.

        • Ruthie, are you thinking that Monty prefers sonatas over a full orchestration? Why would that be?

          you and your husband, and even I, know that cats have souls. They are more intuned to suffering than dogs, and no one nor body should have to experience suffering beyond what they are capable of handling. 3

          • I think he likes the full orchestration. He did not like the piano music. This is just based on my observation, so I could be wrong. We shall see how he responds as we continue our little evening “concerts.”


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