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Do Felines Have Instrument Preferences?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the playing-harmonica-to-your-cat-on-a-hot-tin-roof dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 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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Yes, they do. (2, Funny)

sllort (442574) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267733)

I know a pussy that loves flutes.

Re:Yes, they do. (2)

joto (134244) | more than 12 years ago | (#3269704)

Yes, me too. But I am wondering if you mean that in the literal sense or not :-)

Re:Yes, they do. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3272606)

Funny, I thought it'd be your organ.

Shouldn't that be... (0, Offtopic)

Starship Trooper (523907) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267737)

from the slashdot-will-post-any-inane-bullshit-today dept.

Re:Shouldn't that be... (0, Offtopic)

danielrose (460523) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267852)

No. It should be:
from the slashdot-will-post-any-inane-bullshit-any-day dept.

Re:Shouldn't that be... (0)

ObeyTheWerejackal (571715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3297774)

You read the stories? Just read the trolls, they're more interesting.

If you play... (2)

gnovos (447128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267752) 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.

flutes (2)

Evro (18923) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267799)

My cat plays the skin flute. Organ too. Gotta do something about those fangs though.

Violin (2, Funny)

JAZ (13084) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267805)

I always thought that cats hated the violin most... what with the cat gut strings and all.

gut strings (2, Funny)

chocolatetrumpet (73058) | more than 12 years ago | (#3272767)

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 (3, Interesting)

heikkile (111814) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267817)

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.

Don't try to explain .... (2)

fm6 (162816) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267834)

...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.

From the keeping-cats-away-from-the-keyboard dept. (3, Funny)

bihoy (100694) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Re:From the keeping-cats-away-from-the-keyboard de (2)

WolfWithoutAClause (162946) | more than 12 years ago | (#3268064)

That certainly gets cats away from your keyboard- they get away from home altogether and never come back.

Re:From the keeping-cats-away-from-the-keyboard de (0)

epodrevol (219315) | more than 12 years ago | (#3272299)

you would be surprised how stupid and stubborn cats really are. I have to use a water pistol, and then the backhand-to-wall kitty.

Re:From the keeping-cats-away-from-the-keyboard de (1)

Jyrgen (570868) | more than 12 years ago | (#3275911)

I have been using the more interactive way to keep the cat walking on keyboard when I'm doing something with computer: Laser pointer pointed at the wall would do magic, espeacially when it's pointed towards the corner adjacent to the ceiling where our feline friend can not reach it from.. ;)

You are guilty of patent infringement! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3276988)

I have been using the more interactive way to keep the cat walking on keyboard when I'm doing something with computer:
Laser pointer pointed at the wall would do magic

Sir, you must cease and desist all such activity immediately, as you are infringing on US Patent 0544303 [] . If you send $500 to the patent owner immediately, you will not be liable for court costs or penalties.

*sigh* I wish I was kidding.

Re:You are guilty of patent infringement! (1)

Jyrgen (570868) | more than 12 years ago | (#3283015)

My goodness. I'm grateful that I live in the free country where _private_ people can do anything with their _private_ property without need to report it to anyone who might have some intellectual property rights to such..

Laser Tag, Sorta. (3, Funny)

CMiYC (6473) | more than 12 years ago | (#3267845)

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.

depends on the cat, and the instrument (4, Interesting)

Cutthroat (2285) | more than 12 years ago | (#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!

Re:depends on the cat, and the instrument (2)

clifyt (11768) | more than 12 years ago | (#3268727)

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.


Re:depends on the cat, and the instrument (2)

divbyzero (23176) | more than 12 years ago | (#3271298)

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".

Re:depends on the cat, and the instrument (1)

sidesh0w (32371) | more than 12 years ago | (#3268800)

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.

Re:depends on the cat, and the instrument (1)

Johnny O (22313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3280155)

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....

Squelch! (2)

BrianGa (536442) | more than 12 years ago | (#3268680)

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.

My cat hates it when I whistle (3, Interesting)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3269012)

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.


Re:My cat hates it when I whistle (1)

Chris Wheeler (223146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270195)

My cat jumps in your lap and puts his paw over your mouth when you whistle. The first time he did it, he balled his paw into what looks like a little fist and "punched" my boyfriend.

Re:My cat hates it when I whistle (2)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3271900)


You must have me confused with someone else. Your cat has never jumped in my lap or put his paw over my mouth when I whistle.


Re:My cat hates it when I whistle (1)

Chris Wheeler (223146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3272337)


He only does this to people who are in my house whistling.

I don't believe you've ever been in my house. Sorry for the confusion.

Irish Folk Music (3, Interesting)

acroyear (5882) | more than 12 years ago | (#3269090)

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...

I'm not sure if this April's fool joke but (2)

jsse (254124) | more than 12 years ago | (#3269322)

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

My cat's least favorite instrument (2)

stinkydog (191778) | more than 12 years ago | (#3269864)

For some reason, my cat really dislikes organ music [] . Who knew.


Big cats love smooth jazz ... (2)

openbear (231388) | more than 12 years ago | (#3270207)

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 ;-)

Re:Big cats love smooth jazz ... (1)

cameloid (120654) | more than 12 years ago | (#3272759)


I've heard your playing (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3271179)

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.

Why have a cat if you don't want it around you? (2)

t0qer (230538) | more than 12 years ago | (#3271999)

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.

Re:Why have a cat if you don't want it around you? (1)

Jucius Maximus (229128) | more than 12 years ago | (#3280876)

"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.

Cats and Drums (1)

I am the blob (239590) | more than 12 years ago | (#3272101)

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.


Re:Cats and Drums (1)

tedrek (459924) | more than 12 years ago | (#3289509)

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.

classical guitar (2, Funny)

vinnythenose (214595) | more than 12 years ago | (#3273686)

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.
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