As more animal shelters, primate centers and zoos start to play music for their charges, it's still not clear whether and how human music affects animals.
Now, a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison shows that while cats ignore our music, they are highly responsive to "music" written especially for them. The study is online at Applied Animal Behaviour Science.
"We are not actually replicating cat sounds," says lead author Charles Snowdon, an emeritus professor of psychology. "We are trying to create music with a pitch and tempo that appeals to cats." One sample was based on the tempo of purring, the other on the sucking sound made during nursing.
Courtesy of Charles Snowdon, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and David Teie, University of Maryland