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Rachel Anello

Approach Behavior to Species-Specific Sounds in Domestic Cats (Felis catus)

Rachel Anello ’22
Qian Qian Mei, Julia McLagan
Faculty Mentor(s):
Reggie Gazes, Animal Behavior
Funding Source:

There have been studies to support that cats respond to cat-specific auditory stimuli. Researchers have found that cats listening to “cat music” respond with a shorter approach latency, more orientation, and more contact with the speaker than cats listening to regular classical music. Other studies have found that listening to “cat music” lowers stress-related behaviors of cats during a veterinary exam when compared to classical music and silence. In this study we focused on which elements within cat-specific music are most attractive to cats. These elements include an isolated purring track, an isolated suckling track, an isolated instrumental track, and the original track that combines these three elements. Subjects were thirty-two domestic cats (Felis catus) housed at The Scratching Post Cat Café in Lewisburg, PA. A speaker was placed in the center of the room, and one of the sounds was played for 10 minutes. We recorded all individual behaviors for one cat per trial, as well as distance from the speaker for all cats at one minute intervals. Three trials of each of the five conditions were conducted at night (8pm) over a span of five weeks. Cats approached the speaker significantly more in the isolated purring condition than in any other condition. Cats additionally approached the speaker more quickly in the isolated purr and suckle conditions. This suggests that cats’ interest in “cat music” may be best explained as an interest in species specific sounds such as purring and suckling.

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