Purrfect Pitch: David Teie's Music for Cats

Bacon ( @baconcup ) gives Music for Cats a listen.

Bacon (@baconcup) gives Music for Cats a listen.

After thirty years of playing and composing music, I turned my attention to the question of the origins of music. One of the results was a discovery of how to write music for other species, so I composed music for cats.

— David Teie

When you crank up your favorite tunes, does your cat glare at you like a sullen teenager, forced to endure her human parents’ awful taste in music? Ours too. But what music would cats actually enjoy?

Working with scientists at the University of Wisconsin, cellist and composer David Teie decided to find out. He determined which musical qualities and sounds cats found pleasing and came to Kickstarter in 2015 to record the first album specifically tuned to feline tastes. The response was overwhelming — more than 10,000 backers pledged a collective $241,651, twelve times more than he had set out to raise.

Testimonials have purred... er, poured in since the campaign, with backers confirming that their cats love listening to the album. But Teie knows the unfamiliar, ambient music isn’t always what humans want to hear. So, for Kickstarter Gold, Teie created a follow-up album of music designed to delight cats and their human companions — what’s known in the industry as a “crossover record.”

As he works to strengthen the interspecies bond, Teie reflected on how the project has deepened his own appreciation of music’s empathy-enhancing powers: “It has helped me understand the very nature of communication. As a musician I always made decisions intuitively, without being concerned with the audience; if it sounded good to me, then I would go with it. Trying to connect with people through the Kickstarter campaign has helped me to see through others' eyes.” And, we suppose, cats' eyes, too.

Explore more Music projects on Kickstarter — not all of them are feline-focused, unfortunately — here.