Do Your Cats Approve of Your Favorite Music?
My cats’ lives have always included music. In fact, I named my first cats Sinéad O’Kitty and Siouxsie Mew, after two of my favorite singers, Sinéad O’Connor (who also happened to be my first celebrity crush) and Siouxsie Sioux of the punk band Siouxsie & the Banshees.
Part of the reason they got those names was because they too were "singers," whose voices sounded like the women after whom they were named. Sinéad actually loved it when I played Sinéad O’Connor CDs: She’d jump on my lap and purr as I sang along to “Troy” and “Fire on Babylon.”
Siouxsie wasn’t so fond of Siouxsie & the Banshees, unfortunately.
My music tastes expanded as the years passed, so I decided it was time to have my cats review some of the songs I like these days.
Bauhaus, “Telegram Sam”
Siouxsie has heard this song approximately 1,304,456,723 times over her 16 years in my home, so she’s largely indifferent. Thomas, too, has had his fill of this tune. Kissy, however, was interested -- probably because of the jerky motions in the video more than the song itself.
Altan, “John Doherty’s Reels”
My cats aren’t fans of traditional Irish music, which is a shame because I love it enough to play it regularly. After all these years, though, they have come to tolerate it -- until I turn it way up and accompany it on my bodhrán, that is. Run, kitty, run!
Florence + the Machine, “No Light, No Light”
Siouxsie may not enjoy her namesake’s musical stylings much, but she’s absolutely in love with this song! She wove back and forth in front of me and purred as I played it, and gurgled her approval as she rubbed her head on my laptop.
Skrillex and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, “Make It Bun Dem”
Reactions to this delightfully unholy union of dubstep and reggae were surprisingly positive. Nobody ran away. Nobody made “airplane ears.” In fact, they even seemed sort of intrigued by the storyline of the video.
Faith and the Muse, “Fade and Remain”
Everybody enjoyed the gentle melody of this folk-tale-inspired tune by one of my favorite bands on the planet. In my totally unscientific research, it seems to me that cats prefer songs in this rhythm and key. I’m not sure why. But the biggest surprise for me was ....
Krishna Das, “Om Namah Shivaya”
While I was looking at the videos I was going to use for this article, I figured I'd play "Om Namah Shivaya" to see how the cats liked it. I assumed it would be a hit because it’s slow and mellow and has some tonal similarities to “Fade and Remain.” But what I didn’t anticipate was Kissy’s reaction: She hopped up on the couch and rubbed all over my laptop, then she curled up in my arms and purred herself halfway to sleep.
This is the cat who’s always on high alert and ready to, growl, hiss, or even scream and run at the slightest provocation. But this song apparently did something for her that nothing I’ve done to date has been able to do: It allowed her to relax deeply, curled in my arms, in a space that’s usually controlled by Siouxsie and Thomas. Now, that’s a five-star review in my book.
What about your cats? Do they have musical preferences? Is there a song they just seem to love ... or hate? Please share in the comments!