People have a tendency to anthropomorphize our pets, imbuing on them different characteristics, emotions, likes, and dislikes that are normal for us human beings. One of the favorite activities of many people is listening to music, but do cats share the same passion as us? Well, we will aim to go some way towards answering this question in the following blog post, as well as looking at how cats respond to sound.
Do Cats Like Music?
Can cats hear music? Well, if you have ever played music around your cat, you may have noticed that they don’t really pay much attention to it unless it is too loud, and then they get away from it quickly. Remember that human music has been made to be pleasing to our own senses, so this doesn’t necessarily make it appealing to cats. However, there are some situations in which music is thought to be calming to your furry friend. You may notice that shelters play classical music in the background in the belief that it calms the residents. Although this may simply be to create a relaxing atmosphere for the visitors rather than the cats living in the facility.
Research on Music for Cats
There have been some studies conducted recently on the issue of cats and music, determining whether they respond better to different varieties. The main conclusions drawn are that cats don’t have any particular preferences for listening to our music – even many of the great tracks through the ages! However, it does seem that they respond better when the frequencies and tempos have been designed for them to respond to – such as sounds of purring or bird noise. As research continues in sounds that cats like, it is likely that more and more will be discovered about what songs cats like. And this could seriously help in our communication efforts with our four-legged friends.
How Do Cats’ Ears Work?
Cats have ears that are designed in a unique way to draw in sound to the ear canal. This ability plays a big role in their hunting skills as they can hear prey moving from long distances. Just like our ears, theirs are sensitive to higher amplitudes of sound, which is one of the main reasons why they can be damaged by repeated loud music exposure – just like ours. This is also explains why cats can suffer from deafness due to similar reasons to ourselves.
Symptoms of Hearing Loss in Cats
As your cat gets older, they are more likely to suffer from hearing loss. Sometimes, this displays itself as unresponsiveness to loud noises or difficulty getting your kitty to wake up. You may notice that deaf kittens are more vocal, and they often play in a rougher manner with their brothers and sisters as they cannot hear them crying out in pain. Look out for signs of disorientation, redness around the ear canals, black and yellow discharge coming from the ear canals, or the other symptoms that we have discussed above. These could be signs of infection that need to be treated. Otherwise, your cat could be at risk of hearing problems.
How Do Cats Hear the World Around?
Cats have a much more finely tuned sense of hearing than us, which may go some way towards explaining why they will become easily startled if music is turned up too loud. While cats and humans have a similar sense of hearing when it comes to sounds at the lower end of the frequency spectrum, at the higher end, cats can hear frequencies of 64,000 Hz, which is significantly higher than humans who can hear up to 23,000. Cats are even beyond the hearing capabilities of dogs by a single octave.
Another possible reason for why this is the case is that your cat’s whiskers are also very sensitive, so the vibrations from the bass may make it an unpleasant experience to your four-legged friend. Even deaf cats can sense when music is being played through their whiskers. There is research to show that music can be more pleasurable to cats if the tone, pitch, and tempo is set in a certain way that is made to be appealing to them.
When kittens are first born, they are deaf, so it is likely to be their mother’s purr that is the first sound they hear in the big wide world. If cat music is s played, there is some that cats enjoy it – as shown by the fact that they will sometimes rub up against speakers, thereby transferring their scent onto it, which is a classic sign of enjoyment.
How To Clean Cat Ears
If your cat is struggling to hear music but there don’t seem to be any underlying medical issues as identified by the vet, it is possible that their ears are simply in need of cleaning. You will need to wait for a time when your cat is in a calm and relaxed state and have all the different tools ready to go. Be gentle with your wipes or cat ear cleaners. You should avoid pushing in anything too deep as this can result in hearing issues. Give your cat plenty of praise and cat treats for getting through the process. You should be getting into a regular habit of cleaning out their ears. Otherwise, they are less likely to sit still and will try and bolt off at the first sign of you getting out the equipment. It may also help to have someone else there, providing assistance in distracting your kitty while the process goes on.
You are probably never going to be able to get your cat to enjoy Beethoven or the Beatles as human music has been created with our own pleasure in mind. But there is increasing evidence that cats can enjoy some types of music that have been specifically created for their ears.
- Music for Cats – Wisconsin Academy
- Proof That Cats Love Music Too – International Cat Care