If you enjoy violin music or practice at home, you’ll notice that cats hate the sound of violins.
Meowing, pawing, scratching, or even biting are often cats’ reactions to hearing a violin playing. Even if you’re not playing the instrument and just listening to some violin-rich music, you may get similarly expressive reactions.
Cats have sensitive hearing and violin music sounds like fighting cats. There’s lots of research on how music affects cats. Some studies confirm that cats react positively to pop music!
Most cats hate violins because their powerful ears can pick up notably high pitches from violins. These pitches resemble fighting cats’ sounds, which is stressful for the cat listening. Cats prefer lower pitched music with smooth melodies.
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Do Cats React to Music?
Cats notice and sometimes react to music and it’s usually pretty clear whether that reaction is positive or not. Naturally, their reactions are more focused on pitches, tempos, and tones rather than melodies and vocals.
You can tell a cat likes what’s playing if it starts purring, rubbing against the source of the music, starts kneading, or if it sleeps in the general area of the music.
A cat that doesn’t like what it’s listening to can simply walk out of the room and take refuge in the quietest part of the house. Other signs include excessive meowing, pawing, or scratching at the source of the music, and in extreme cases, they might even hiss.
They might also do the “airplane ears” look, which is when they point their ears downwards and dart looks all over the place. They do this to protect their ears from loud noises.
It’s important to remember that some of these signs might also mean that the music is exciting to them. Exciting music might make cats more playful or even cause a zoomies session! So apply what you already know about your cat to understand how it feels.
Why Does My Cat Bite Me When I Play Violin?
There are two main reasons why a lot of cats passionately dislike violins: cats have sensitive hearing and violins also sound like distressed cats.
These reasons are instinctual and strong enough to cause your cat a panic, making them desperate to end the sound of a violin once it starts, which means they will bite and climb and claw to end it.
- Cats Have Powerful Ears
The first reason is how powerful cats’ ears are. The feline sense of hearing is particularly strong when it comes to higher pitches. In fact, they possess one of the strongest senses of hearing compared to most domesticated animals.
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Basically, cats hear more of the violin than the person playing it. These higher pitches can range from distracting to borderline painful.
One sure effect they do for a cat is drowning other sounds, and if there’s one thing we know about cats, it’s how much they hate being blindsided.
- Violins Sound Like Distressed Cats
The second reason is, well, violins can sound like a cat fighting for its life… at least to other cats.
Cats use their voices to communicate with one another just as much as they use their bodies. It’s not entirely clear to us how they use a lot of them, but we do know they make around 100 different vocalizations.
They rely on the pitch of their yowls or screeching to scare competing cats or other threats. They’ll also use these sounds when they’re in pain, trapped, etc.
The higher pitches of a violin sound quite similar to these screeches and can understandably be very scary and stressful for the cat. Imagine if you had to listen to a horror movie scream for an extended amount of time!
Do All Cats Hate Violins?
Despite the reasons behind some cats’ dislike for violins being very instinctual, some cats do tolerate or even enjoy violins. At the end of the day, this dislike is mainly because of a perceived sense of danger, so don’t worry if your cat isn’t alarmed by these sounds.
Besides, animals are individuals and have preferences just like us. We humans like our fair share of violent screaming vocals in music. Maybe cats that like violins are a little extra punk!
Do Cats Hate All Instruments?
There are instruments that most cats thoroughly enjoy. These instruments usually have lower pitches and can be quite relaxing for both cats and humans.
For instance, cats usually like cello music despite its similarity to violins because it often has much lower frequencies. They also really enjoy piano, harp, and similarly calm instruments.
Most cat music available on things like Spotify and YouTube is made entirely with pianos.
Do Cats Hate All Kinds of Music?
The good news is that cats don’t hate all kinds of music; some types of music relax them, some might make them more playful or curious, and some cats have special preferences for different kinds of music!
Though it differs from one cat to the other, there are types of music that researchers think cats prefer over the rest. You’d be amazed by the amount of research and creativity that has gone into figuring out what kind of music cats enjoy.
What Kind of Music Is Calming to Cats?
Classical music is always a popular choice for its calming effect on humans, dogs, cats, and even horses. One study that examined 12 cats found that most of them reacted positively to classical music and pop.
Do Cats Like Classical Music?
Cats prefer classical music over all other types of music, but not all classical music is equal for them. For example, pieces that have sharp sounds, quick tempos, and big movements are more likely to stress your kitties out than to relax them.
On the other hand, music that has a lot of calm piano, harp, or cello is usually used to calm cats down.
What Kind of Music Do Cats Hate?
Two main things make cats hate what they’re listening to: high pitches and strong beats. Fast electronic music with lots of bass, metal, and other similarly loud music won’t scratch your cat’s itch.
Research confirms this, having found that heavy metal music causes signs of stress such as dilated pupils and elevated heartbeat rates.
Is There Any Violin Music That Cats Enjoy?
Fortunately, cats don’t hate all kinds of violin music and some highly specialized cat music playlists even include violin pieces.
Here’s an example of kittens reacting well to some classical violin music. Notice how slow and smooth the melody is:
The main difference is that these songs are made with the lowest pitches possible on a violin.
How to Make Your Cat Enjoy Violin Music
Let’s kick this off by highlighting that if your cat is going as far as biting and scratching at you while you play the violin, it might be better to just play it far away from them.
As we highlighted above, violins’ sounds can be quite distressing for some cats. Changing that won’t only be difficult, but also unnecessarily stressful for the cat. If possible, use a different room, keep your cat away, and use blankets to block the sounds.
If this isn’t possible, or your cat gets only slightly disgruntled by the tunes of a violin, here’s what we suggest to make your cat enjoy it a bit more over time.
Stick to Lower Pitches
The first thing to do when trying to acclimate your cat to hearing the violin is to eliminate the most annoying part for them for a week or two.
Start by playing pieces that use exclusively lower notes to avoid the higher frequencies only your cat can hear. Combine this with rewards and a calm conversation with your cat.
Reward Around Violin Time
Every time you grab your violin’s case, make sure to have high-value treats ready for your cat. Reward him just for being in the room with the silent violin, then again when you play one sound, and so on.
In the beginning, reward generously and indiscriminately. You don’t even need to play anything, just handle the violin, make some low-tone sounds, then treat. Let your cat get curious and examine the violin.
After a couple of days, only reward your cat when he behaves the way you want him to. If you play a sound and he meows or paws, correct this behavior by saying “no” or whatever your cat understands, take some steps back and do it again.
Continue doing so until your cat gets excited when they see the violin and calm when you hold it
Our feline friends have a lot of strange and funny reactions to their surroundings, but why do cats hate violins more than other instruments?
Cats’ impeccable sense of hearing as well as how they communicate with each other, make their experience of a beautiful violin playing completely different from ours.
We hear a heavenly tune, they hear a cat screeching for them to back off.