Music for Cats!

BETHESDA, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Composite photo of David Teie, who is composing music for cats, in his apartment on September, 25, 2015 in Bethesda, MD. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

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Yep you read that right… Someone has made music specifically for cats!

David Teie an accomplished cellist began writing music for animals back in 2003 to demonstrate his universal theory of music: The idea that music taps directly into our emotional core by remixing the sounds that marinated our developing brains in the womb… Did you know our mother’s resting pulse is around the same pace as music we find relaxing, plus popular instruments like the violin are around the same range as her voice?

It’s also true for other animals, but for example with monkeys, their pulse is faster and they have high-pitched voices so in theory they would respond best to music that is quite a bit higher and faster than music for humans.

Teie tested this theory on a colony of cotton-top tamarins and was amazed when the monkeys relaxed to the more tranquil tracks and became more active when researchers played his version of “dance music” for primates! He was on to something, but in order to move forward with this project he realized that he would need to write music for animals that people might actually purrchase.

So with an estimated 86 Million pet cats in America, felines became an obvious choice for Teie to compose tracks for… after all many people claim that they struggle to build a relationship with their cats and some relaxing music to enjoy together may help.

BETHESDA, MD - SEPTEMBER 25: Composite photo of David Teie, who is composing music for cats, in his apartment on September, 25, 2015 in Bethesda, MD. (Photo by Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

In 2008, Teie wrote two songs “Rusty’s Ballad” and “Cozmo’s Air” which prompted positive responses from 77 percent of cats in a study published in February in Applied Animal Behaviour Science. Earlier this year the study was finally published and generated some attention, it caught my eye and I decided to test the tracks on Cole and Marmalade…

As you can see there was no major reactions from either cat… no breakdancing or kitty backflips from the boys, but a sense of calm did seem to come over them and myself while the music played.

Since then Teie as been in prague recording new tracks for an EP’s worth of cat songs (about 40 minutes) He discovered that the trick to help cross the species divide is to use instruments both real and virtual to create approximations of cat sounds, and then create compositions that are pleasing to the animals. Layering musical purrs with songs of kittens who mew into the ultrasonic range and even creating a new instrument on his computer by contouring an organ sound to mimic the opening and closing of a cat’s vocal cords!

Some of these sounds can’t be detected by us cat servants, but Teie is pretty sure the cats out there will enjoy them and he realized that he could write music that would provide a shared emotional experience for cats and their humans.

I’ve gotta say I enjoyed the tracks when I played them for Cole and Marm too and I think Music For Cats has great potential to not only help enrich the lives of house cats and their owners, but also help cats relax in more stressful circumstances like during vet visits or at animal shelters… with Americans spending about $60 billion annually on their pets, cat music has the potential to be huge!

So when David asked for our help in supplying them with footage of Cole and Marmalade listening to the cat music to be used in their marketing video I obliged and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product.

What will they think of next? 🙂

Purrlease support this project on Kickstarter

Music for Cats featured in The New York Times


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