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Do Felines Have Instrument Preferences? 40

MrNally asks: "Last night I was trying out my new harmonica when my cats started to freak. A quick check of google (isn't the internet wonderful - la la) reveals that, as a rule, cats hate the harmonica. Here's a small company that has used this to 'cat proof' your computer, playing harmonica sounds whenever the keyboard is used in cat-like ways. Does anyone know anything about feline physiology? Any ideas why my cats hate my Bob Dylan renditions when played on the harmonica, but don't seem to mind it on the guitar? And then there's the point that someone has turned this into a computer solution which suggests that there's a bandwidth limitation to their hatred (that is, their hatred is still true even after a low pass filter). Most importantly, is there any similar system that could be created for certain humans? ;-)" So remember, folks, if you don't want any household catastrophes, leave the harmonica renditions of your favorite songs to a feline-claw-free environment. Come to think of it, are there any particular instruments cats like?
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Do Felines Have Instrument Preferences?

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  • by sllort ( 442574 )
    I know a pussy that loves flutes.

  • many of the amatuer harmonica players I was forced to listen to in college, no wonder cats hate it! I think, as a general rule, any intrument that will assault the ears unless played perfectly will be disliked by cats.
  • by Evro ( 18923 )
    My cat plays the skin flute. Organ too. Gotta do something about those fangs though.
  • Violin (Score:2, Funny)

    by JAZ ( 13084 )
    I always thought that cats hated the violin most... what with the cat gut strings and all.
    • For those that don't know, the strings on string instruments used to be made mainly from gut. As instruments became louder and more resonant, concert halls got bigger, and most strings have been replaced with steel, which is strung very tight and is very resonant.

      However, some people still choose to use gut strings, particuarly those of cat gut. A friend of mine who strings his viola with cat gut strings and I used to joke about taking kitty to the music store, handing him over the counter, ordering some new strings, waiting while kitty was taken to the back room and after a minute or so of trashing, out came the clerk with some beautiful brand new gut strings.

      This friend has been known to pet his viola while making an affectionate face and muttering, "kitty!"
  • Higher partials (Score:3, Interesting)

    by heikkile ( 111814 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @06:51PM (#3267817) Homepage
    I suspect it has something to do with the higher partials, the cat hearing range goes pretty high - some say 100 KHz, although not linearily. I have noticed that my CD player does not disturb them, but when I play my harpsichord, or the recorders (especially smaller ones), the cats tend to leave the room.
  • ...anything cats do. Once knew a cat that would only sit on your lap if you whistled classical music at her. Hey, the mystery is part of the fun. Just put your keyboard away when you're not using it.
  • by bihoy ( 100694 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @06:58PM (#3267840)
    I have found a simple game that you can play with your cat that will teach them to stay away from your keyboard. It's called wall kitty. Basically, when ever you find your cat stepping or about to step on the keys, you pick it up and fling it against a wall. The cat soon learns to avoid the keyboard altogether.
  • by CMiYC ( 6473 ) on Monday April 01, 2002 @06:59PM (#3267845) Homepage
    The neighbor's cats don't like it when I play Laser Tag with them and my shotgun. Shuts 'em up real quick when they howl all night. If the owners would get them fixed I might not feel the instinctive need to reach for my gun.
  • by Cutthroat ( 2285 ) <[rick] [at] []> on Monday April 01, 2002 @10:06PM (#3268536)
    I've got three cats. My wife plays piano, and works with various other instrumentalists and singers. What we've observed so far:

    Cat #1:
    Seems to hate pretty much everything. All you have to do is reach for the piano keys and he leaves the room. It might be that he just hates piano.

    Cat #2:
    She doesn't like piano much, but she *loves* sopranos. When a soprano starts singing, she's been known to run right over and flop at her feet. It's interesting that she doesn't seem to be as fond of countertenors.

    Cat #3:
    She's pretty antisocial in general, so it's remarkable if she's around when there's anyone in the room who doesn't also live in the house. She doesn't seem to care much one way or another about piano, unless it's one of the young piano students playing. She has a knack of picking the ones who are terrified of cats. She tends to like sopranos too, although she'll usually leave them alone while they're singing.

    So far, none of them seem very interested in cellos, violas, violins or tenors, although there's been less opportunities to observe, so it's hard to say whether it's indifference or dislike.

    Dunno if this was an April Fools' post, but it's actually a valid question to me!
    • Of course its a valid least for all of use musicans that are cat lovers too.

      I wrote a review of a music product a few years ago that was so good that I was forced to write about stuff other than just the review (ie., it was sounded was the best I had heard at the time...bad -- it was expensive...thats all I could write if I decided to do it straight). It detailed my former and present cats preferences in musics...

      Anywho, my cats over the years loved different sounds too. My curent cat, CatCatCat (the only cat I had that hasn't chosen to elect a human name...thus monikered as the only thing he comes to) is DEFINATELY a piano cat. I come home every day to find him basking on my piano as the sun hits the sweet spot, making catlike bird calls on top of it out the windows when its not sleepy time, and listening to me play piano for as long as my fingers hold out these days the rest. The only thing that pisses him off is that I recently aquired a new Mac...picked it up with a 17" monitor that now shares space on top of the piano and the top is no longer just his spot.

      Cats are very intelligent animals. Dogs tend to enjoy anything that their owners shows interest in, but cats find their own way in the world. They let you know if they like an instrument or howl when you play what they don't like (mine has a habit of finding the live mic and playing diva ensuring bad takes aren't kept).

      Well my cat wants to play rat before bed...damn thing keeps holding it in his mouth and growling at me while I type. Damn thing needs more attention than some dogs I've had.

      • My cat Melody doesn't just sit on top of the synthesizer, she changes the presets and walks along the keys while I'm playing. I don't know if this is because she enjoys the sound though; she does the same thing even when I'm using headphones. And no, she has never successfully played the old piano solo "Kitten on the Keys".
    • I know my former cello instructor, who was also a certifiable Cat Person, could tell a lot of great stories about this one. If left unrestrained, her cats would sometimes curl up around your legs while you were playing. And even the reclusive one would sit quite contently in the room with several practicing cellists (which takes more patience than most non-musicians have!) But the funniest part had to be the cats' love of cello cases; they would often fall asleep curled up inside my gig bag, only to be rudely awakened when I tried to pack up my instrument.
    • My big fat long hair cat tolerates everything.
      My little short hair tabby, however, as soon as I reach for an acoustic guitar (steel string or nylon) she bolts out of the room.
      Go figure....
  • I have a Motorola Minitor from my local Volunteer department, and my cat flips out every time anyone talks on the pager or whenever the tones go off.
  • by pete-classic ( 75983 ) <> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:10AM (#3269012) Homepage Journal
    I play with my cat by whistling at the highest note I can and she bites me. She stops the instant I stop, and just licks me till I start again. Pretty funny trick when you see it. She is smart too, she knows just where to bite me. Back of the knees, between the toes, on the arm just behind the armpit. All the most tender spots.

    She does the same thing when I play with the ring tones on my cell phone.

  • Irish Folk Music (Score:3, Interesting)

    by acroyear ( 5882 ) <> on Tuesday April 02, 2002 @01:37AM (#3269090) Homepage Journal
    My eldest cat adores the sound/feel of the Irish Uillean pipes. Whenever i'm playing irish folk music on the stereo, she goes to sleep on the speakers to the vibrations...
  • really, cat hates mobile phone music. Once I change ringing music of my mobile phone at home and my cat suddenly became hostile to me. When she realized that I were not going to stop playing phone music she bited me really hard.

    May be cats don't like bad music, they don't look that hostile listening to hi-fi
  • For some reason, my cat really dislikes organ music []. Who knew.

  • I have two cats, a Main Coon and a Tabby. Whenever I leave the house I have to put the radio on a "smooth jazz" station or else the twenty pound Main Coon fights with the little Tabby. Once I left an "alternative" station on and they tore stuff up while I was gone. It's the strangest thing, but instrumental "smooth jazz" really calms them down. And yes the opposite is true, stuff like the Chemical Brothers totally freak them out.

    As a side note, I have a friend who has a dog who loves country music and hates anything else. Just one more reason why cats a superior to dogs ;-)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    and your harmonica would drive women wild. No, not the way you're thinking; wild like a cat on the way to the vet for that once-in-a-lifetime surgery.
  • I spend about %90 of my waking hours in front of my PC. My kitty has found herself a nice warm spot on top of my monitor. The only time she gets annoying is when it's 3:00am and she wan't me to go to bed. Then she will step off her perch and walk on my k/b mouse, whatever. She's just telling me, "Toqer ROWR it's time for bed you've been here much too long ROWR" I then gently scoop her into my arms and we join the wife and dog for some slumber.
    • "I spend about %90 of my waking hours in front of my PC. My kitty has found herself a nice warm spot on top of my monitor."

      Be careful that cat hair does not build up inside your monitor (because it could fall through the ventilation slits.) This could allow for exessive heat build up and premature monitor death.

  • Now, I don't know if it's simply a question of volume, or if they don't like the instrument or my playing, but not only will my cat leave the room in a hurry when I sit down to practice, but a couple that I'm cat-sitting for a friend will, as well.

    • I found that my cat would be mildly annoyed by my playing the drums but as soon as I touched the cymbals she would freak out. however when nobody was trying to make noise she'd sleep in the bass drum.
  • I knew a cat that absolutely loved the classical guitar. He'd go and lick it like crazy. Then again the guy that the guitar was borrowed from did a lot of pot. We figured pot is like catnip.

Mr. Cole's Axiom: The sum of the intelligence on the planet is a constant; the population is growing.