David Teie is a musician with a difference, he composes music designed specifically for cats!
When I heard about the concept of music for cats I was intrigued so I reached out to David to find out more.
Where did the Idea of Composing Music for Cats Come From?
David told me that the idea of writing music specifically for cats began with an idea that he had about how music affects emotions not just in humans but in other species too. If the theory was correct, it should be possible to compose music that is effective for species other than humans. The first test was duly conducted on monkeys.
When David decided to test his idea he decided to start at the top, contacting leading scientists. As they one by one declined to get involved David worked his way down the list to find the most qualified scientist who was willing to do a study of the effects of species specific music on animals.
Finally, the last name on David’s list, Dr. Charles Snowdon, said he was interested albeit not inclined to spend grant money on the project.
At one point he sent me two newly-discovered calls from his colony of cotton-top Tamarin monkeys. David was able to identify the general meaning of the calls and their contexts without having been told by him. He was impressed that a musical analysis could, in general terms, identify emotional valence and thereby agreed to perform the study!
The study was a great success following the publication of the study of music for monkeys, Dr. Snowdon tested the effectiveness of music for cats and found that it was also effective for them too!
How Soothing is Music for Cats?
While nothing will be as soothing as a good stroke, music is highly effective for most cats. In fact, just today I (David) received news from the lead researcher who conducted a study on the clinical application of the music at a veterinary school of a major university. She wrote “We have got some data in and behaviourally we got some great results! I am in the to process of writing the paper and will let you know when we publish!” I’m very happy with that news, naturally. There has been a lot of hubbub in the science community recently about the disturbingly high percentage of study results that cannot be replicated so thankfully this indicates that the monkey previous studies are not just one off unrepeatable results.
The video below shows someone’s cat listening to David’s music, if you listen carefully you can hear the ‘purring’ noises which are mixed into the music:
Creating the Music for Cats Album
David’s son, Andrew, was working for an advertising firm that had a program they called “fun-ded” that would provide pro bono work or contribute funds toward a project of one of their employees. Andrew convinced them the music for cats was a good project to get behind.
They decided that a Kickstarter campaign would be a good way to raise funds for the creation of an album and, at the same time, create news about Music for cats, and so the music for cats album came into being.
I am hoping to be able to make a living off composing music for animals, but it will need to be a compilation of cats, dogs, and horses to be viable. I did well at first when the press is interested, but a second album is not news. Keeping the sales up has been tricky. Universal Records signed MusicforCats for release everywhere except the US and Canada, but they have recently dropped us into the one-hit-wonder bin.
David believes that all animals are capable of appreciating beauty, as long as it is designed to appeal to their specific species. You can listen to his talk on this exact subject in the video below: