New study: Cats prefer classical music

New study: Cats prefer classical music


norman lebrecht

March 31, 2015

The Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, an essential part of our weekend reading, reports a major breakthrough in our understanding of cats.

Twelve females were fitted with headphones while being spayed at a vet’s surgery in Portugal.

After two minutes of silence, the cats were played two minutes each of Barber’s Adagio for Strings, Natalie Imbruglia’s ‘Torn,’ and AC/DC’s ‘Thunderstruck.’

Each cat’s breathing rate and pupil diameter was measured during the play for stress levels.

Overwhelmingly, the cats were most relaxed while listening to the classical track.


cat headphone

Yes, but how about Wagner?


  • John Borstlap says:

    I can only get my cat to chase the mice in the kitchen after a session of Wallküre.

  • Jessica says:

    My late ginger moggie adored Wagner. He’d sit with paws tucked under, purring through the last scene of Siegfried. Maybe that’s what happens if you name your cat after Solti, though. He definitely preferred his own recordings!

  • Erwin Poelstra says:

    Cats really like to listen to Clawde Depussy’s “Golliwog’s Cakewalk”, including the Wagner quote!

  • Halldor says:

    I find this highly unlikely. Cats are of the Elect. What use would they have for the Brandy of the Damned?

  • CA says:

    Especially Cat-cha-turian!

  • Mark Barrett says:

    Just a day before April 1? Were it not for the authentic looking original report, I was truly wondering about this, thinking that the poor creatures might have been made CATatonic by the agony of either Ms Imbruglia or the onslaught of AC/DC!

  • Jonathan Z says:

    I think this is bad science. I “proved” that my cat doesn’t like the Rite of Spring. He was so disturbed by the high woodwind near the start that he wouldn’t even stay for the violent bits.

    The choice of the Barber plays to the stereotype of ‘classical’ music being soothing and placid. Different results would have been obtained using other examples…

    • John Borstlap says:

      Which is true. Think of the elephant in the Munich zoo who got on a rampage when a busker happened to begin Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, in 1967.

  • F Scot Gilmartin says:

    dogs like bluegrass