Do you leave music on for your pets when you head out to an eight-hour shift at the office? Contrary to popular belief, not all dogs and cats like to rock out to Three Dog Night, or groove with Lionel Ritchie. A new company called Music for Cats looks to cater to feline auditory needs, according to LiveScience.
It turns out that the sounds different species enjoy varies because animals perceive ranges, pitches, and scales differently than humans do. In 2009, Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, partnered with cellist David Teie to produce music that tamarins enjoy. The men took samples of how the monkeys reacted to sounds the species made and then based the music on similar frequencies. The results were remarkable, notes NPR. Certain tunes calmed the tamarins while others made them agitated.
Six years after the initial study, the dynamic duo turned to a broader and more popular animal species. Domestic cats remained easy to study because most house cats are close the same size and have similar hearing and heartbeat ranges. Cats respond to music near to the pitch of feline vocalizations and close to the quickness of a cat’s heartbeat. After some work, Music for Cats became a reality, with three musical choices posted to the website.
Of the tracks, a piece entitled “Spook’s Ditty” features fast-playing, higher-pitched stringed instruments such as a harp and piano. In the background, engineers added the sound effects of tweeting birds. Humans can imagine a cat bounding outdoors and running through the yard to chase a bird. Meanwhile, “Cozmo’s Air” uses a low cello, combined with a cat’s purring sounds, to make a cat’s mood turn to pleasurable relaxation. A third track relaxes a cat’s mood, so owners can play each track to elicit a certain response from the pet.
Snowdon and Teie hope to have tracks with ultrasonic sounds for our canine friends in the future, but the duo must first create ultrasonic listening devices to match a dog’s range of hearing. The company does not have music for dogs just yet, because, unlike cats, dog breeds vary greatly in size and stature. A Chihuahua’s listening tastes would be markedly different from that of a mastiff’s.
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In the meantime, cat fanciers can patronize Music for Cats and make suggestions to the company for future tracks. Some lucky cat owners may even get a tune named for Fluffy, Grumpy, or Fifi – if the company likes the suggestion and goes with it.
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