Why Your Cat's Not an Adele Fan: Researchers Study Animals' Music Tastes

Music Player

If you've ever left a Beethoven CD or light-rock radio station playing for your cat or dog while he's home alone, you might find yourself wondering if animals truly have the capacity to enjoy music. The answer is yes — sort of. Scientists have recently discovered that animals, including humans, prefer and react to music that's played in their species' vocal range, as well as at a tempo similar to the animal's own heartbeat, MSNBC reports.

Translation: Adele's "Someone Like You" might make you swoon, but the beat is probably too slow for your cat.

Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, calls this phenomenon "species-specific music," meaning that animals prefer songs with pitches, tones and tempos that are appropriate to that specific animal.

In 2009, Snowdon partnered with cellist and composer David Teie for a successful test of this theory with music for monkeys. Now they're working together to create tunes for cats: The tones match a feline vocalization range, and the tempo is based on the cat's resting heart rate, which is quicker than a human's.

Snowdon and Teie have written three songs for cats. Creating music for dogs may prove more difficult because giant breeds have lower vocal ranges and slower heart rates than those of small breeds — meaning that a Great Dane and a Pug won't necessarily share the same musical taste.

To sample and download Snowdon and Teie's feline-flavored music, check out their Music for Cats website. All three feline songs are available for download ($1.99 each).

And now you know why Fluffy leaves the room every time you crank up "Rolling in the Deep."


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