Cat-Illustration

Cat Illustration

A friend of mine, also named Michael, is a longtime cat owner who frequently serenades his pets with classical music. Michael says his current cat, a big orange tabby named Lexington, is a particular fan of chamber music and shares his owner’s passion for Antonín Dvořák. If music does indeed soothe the beasts, savage or otherwise, how would Lexington and any other cat respond to music composed especially for them?

On a chilly spring afternoon earlier this year, several of us decided to find out. Our host was Scott Anderson, who lives above his exercise studio in Blue Mounds with two cats, Biddy and Ruthie. We ran our informal experiment under the guidance of Charles Snowdon, a University of Wisconsin–Madison professor emeritus and biological psychologist who has done significant work in this area.

Cat-computer1

Biddy with Charles Snowdon (Photo by Beth Skogen)

Cat-computer

Photo by Beth Skogen