When you play classical piano music, does your cat come near the speaker and lay down to listen to it? Cats appreciate certain music and join their human companions whenever they hear the music, which makes you wonder if cats enjoy music. Do cats like piano music?
Cats prefer “species-specific” music that might include some piano music. Animal shelters have been known to play classical music over the intercom to calm and soothe the cats and dogs. Cats also might like piano music because their humans appreciate it, and they want to please their human friends.
Cats usually ignore most music and other sounds they hear during the day. Let’s dig in to see if cats really like piano music or if they just appear to like it.
Animal Shelters Play Classical Music Over the Intercom
Quiet, soothing music often plays over an intercom in some animal shelters for cats and other animals. A cat of a music teacher plays a piano duet with one of the students. Cats are often drawn to quiet and soothing sounds, including certain types of piano music. In contrast, any loud or sharp sounds scare cats away.
Cats are very selective in what they respond to, including piano music. Most of the time, they will ignore the sounds around them or walk away if it’s too much noise. They don’t like loud music or music with too much going on, such as rock music or heavy metal, and will meow very loudly if they are upset by loud music or talking.
Some cats will even hiss at you if the music or talking is too loud. Since their hearing is very sensitive, they need quiet and calm sounds to keep them calm.
Classical music can calm cats if it’s at the right frequency or sound level. But don’t expect them to come right to your speakers and appreciate it as humans would, as they often listen at a distance.
Cats Prefer “Species-Specific” Music
Animal researchers theorize that cats prefer music explicitly made for them or “species-specific” music. Music for cats has some piano music mixed with a purring sound in the downbeats or interspersed throughout the piece. The music is calm and slow, suggesting that cats respond better to slow music rather than fast.
Scientists also created music that included birds chirping and mice squeaking, creating more interest from cats in the room.
Music that creates sounds that cats respond to can either help calm them or spur them into a hunting mode, much like music for humans. Music for other species is being created that includes sounds specific to the species. It is said that music calms the soul and soothes the savage beast. When it is designed for a particular species, that might turn out to be true.
You may want to have your cat enjoy the same music that you do, but because your music is made for humans, you may find that your cat is indifferent to it. But when it is calming with purring sounds mixed in, your cat will find a comfortable, warm spot and go to sleep. Purring in cat language means that everything is right in the world and cat mothers purr to calm their babies.
A Cat’s Whiskers Sense the Vibrations of Music
While humans may be able to distinguish different types of music with only their ears, cats can sense music on an entirely different scale by using their whiskers to feel the vibrations of even the softest music. Cats don’t like anything with too much bass because of how their whiskers pick up the slightest vibrations.
Whiskers are like a cat’s radar–they help a cat find their way around or alert them to danger. The whiskers pick up vibrations that tell them if they should run, or if it’s nothing to worry about. Loud music with a lot of bass actually scares your cat and creates stress and anxiety that is unnecessary.
While you don’t need to stop listening to your favorite music, you may want to consider turning it down or wear headphones when listening to it, especially if you don’t want to freak out your cat or give it anxiety.
Cats Might Enjoy Piano Music Because Their Humans Like It
If you’re always listening to classical piano music, your cat might develop a fondness for it as well. Cats are eager to please their humans, despite popular opinion, and will sit near you while you’re working or watching TV or even reading while listening to your music. However, your cat will not show an overabundance of joy for piano music if it plays on your computer or Mp3 player.
Cats are always interested in what their humans are doing, as they are curious creatures. Encourage your cat to enjoy piano music by finding some species-specific music, such as this lullaby for cats on Youtube. It features soft piano music combined with purring, designed to make your cat sleepy in a few minutes.
The comments on the video claim that their cats went from very anxious to sleeping in just a few minutes. Whether that is accurate or not remains a mystery, but there is something about a calm atmosphere that keeps kitties calm.
Kittens Who Listen to Music Form a Deep Bond With It Through Their Lives
Much like a human baby in the womb, some theories suggest that playing classical music around pregnant cats can help the kittens form a deep bond with classical piano music throughout their lives. While they may not have the same bond to music like humans do, or have “fond memories” of their favorite music, they do seem to appreciate it more than cats who were not exposed to this type of music early in life.
Cats that are around piano music frequently show more interest in it, of course, than cats that are around things like the TV or other sounds. If they live with a piano teacher, they might be more apt to try “playing” the piano or “singing” along with the music.
Cats Like Music That Purrs
Purring is a built-in cat mechanism that is triggered when they are happy, contented, or relaxed. Mother cats purr when their kittens are born so that they can find her more easily to nurse right away after birth.
Music that incorporates purring with calm and soft piano music can help anxious or stressed cats relax and go to sleep. It’s not really due to the piano music as much as it is the purring interspersed with the music that calms them.
It might also put their human to sleep as well since purring is right at that frequency that lowers human blood pressure and calms their mind. This is why, when your cat is on your lap purring, you tend to feel sleepier than normal. It’s that purring mechanism in cats that is doing it to you.
Cats and piano music don’t necessarily mix well, but if they are around it long enough, they might develop a fondness for it. Some cats, if there is a piano in their home, will try to play it like their humans do, or will walk over the keys to make their own music, which might be interesting at two in the morning.
If you want to calm your cat, try to find “cat music” designed for cats, which will have music played at higher frequencies mixed with purring, and perhaps some birds or mice sounds mixed in for good measure.
- Youtube: Cat Playing Piano Like Beethoven: Nora
- Cat Health: Why Do Some Cats Like Music?
- Purina: Do Cats Like Music?
- PBS: Cats Don’t Like Human Music: Play This Instead
- Hills Pet: Do Cats Like Music?
- Smithsonian Magazine: Here’s What Music Specially Composed For Your Cat Sounds Like
- Youtube: Relaxing Lullaby For Cats and Kittens
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.