last December, the ambient and electronic musician ( besides known as Album Leaf ) received a television in which the serene opening strains of “ Window ” — the beginning song on 2004 ’ second In a safe Place — unexpectedly piqued the attention of a big cat and seemed to lure the much aloof animal to its owner for a few good pets. “ I saw it and just thought, ‘ Oh, that ’ south curious, ’ ” Lavalle tells Rolling Stone. “ then a friend sent it to me, then another ally sent it to me. People were sending it to my wife, my family was sending it to me, and people were saying they were trying it out on their cats. It ’ randomness fair like, ‘ What the heck ? ’ ”
Two months late, and the swerve is still chugging along, and Lavelle — who fair released his score for the 2020 sci-fi flick Synchronic — says the alone other comparable consequence he ’ randomness experienced was when fans of the television receiver prove Scandal latched onto his sung “ The Light ” after it was featured in an episode. “ I know of songs that were democratic based on commercials and stuff like that, ” he says with a joke, “ but nothing like what I ’ ve seen now, which is user-generated message that is easily uploadable to the internet. It ’ s a truly great thing. ”
Although far from the kind of blockbuster viral trends we ’ re used to seeing on TikTok ( i.e. the “ Old Town Road ” -scored “ Yeehaw Challenge ” and the recent “ Buss It ” challenge ), the “ See If Your Cat Will Come Cuddle With You Challenge ” ( for miss of a more compendious term ) has been systematically entertaining those who ’ ve taught their TikTok algorithm to serve up choice caterpillar content for the past two months. Its origins seem to be a December 3rd, 2020 mail from a exploiter named jennimorose, who just happened to have the Album Leaf ’ s “ Window ” on a playlist and kept noticing that whenever the song came up on shuffle her guy would stop whatever she was doing and come looking for pets .
Jennimorose urged other cat owners to try it, and as the meme spread, it took on a basic format : The automatic text-to-speech AI voice says, “ They say if you play this sound your caterpillar will come cuddle with you, ” after which cat-o’-nine-tails owners eagerly wait to see whether their cats respond or not. Scroll through the videos on TikTok, and the results are decisively assorted — some cats quickly trot over to the source of the healthy, others poke their heads up, and some, in typical feline fashion, plainly can not be bothered. ( An unofficial view conducted in the Rolling Stone staff ’ s pet-centric Slack channel yielded exchangeable results. )
That mix of reactions speaks to the open-ended nature of the question : What kinds of music will a vomit answer to ? As vomit behavior and health adept Jackson Galaxy — host of the long-running Animal Planet series, My Cat From Hell, and a former musician — says, “ I ’ ve listen everything. literally. ‘ Cats will respond to Verdi, but they won ’ metric ton respond to Wagner. ’ Or, ‘ They ’ ll react to EDM, ’ or, ‘ They ’ ll react to white noise. ’ ”
In 2015, the musician David Teie took a stab at answering that motion with his album, Music for Cats, which came out of a study he did with researchers at the University of Wisconsin. Teie was already concerned in how music affects human emotion, and he carried some of his theories over to other animals, first working with cotton-top tamarin monkeys, then sign of the zodiac cats. Teie ’ s work was rooted in the notion of “ species-specific music ” — basically taking sounds that certain species would be innately conversant with and turning them into music .
The theory surely holds for humans, Teie explains. For case, it ’ randomness no storm that after gestating in the uterus for nine months, hearing nothing but a mother ’ second heartbeat, humans seem preternaturally attracted to music that falls within the same 60 to 100 beats-per-minute pulsate range as an adult kernel. Because cats have a shorter gestation period, Teie focused rather on other sounds kittens would hear, such as suckling and whizz. But quite than equitable set recordings of purr to music, Teie crafted purr-like sounds using production software ; should the sound be excessively recognizable, he figured, a cat-o’-nine-tails would just habituate to it and ignore it .
“ When we create musical instruments that have a roughly estimate of the emotions that it ’ second designed to trigger, but it ’ s not the very thing, we don ’ thyroxine habituate to it, ” he says. “ We can ’ t very identify it, so the mystery of the sound is something that keeps it affecting us. ”
Teie thinks that desegregate of mystery and familiarity is at the heart of what some cats are responding to when they hear Album Leaf ’ s “ Window. ” The key sound is that double synth timbre that arrives about 16 seconds into the song : “ That synth sound has two components, ” Teie says. “ The lower one, with a frequency of, let ’ s say, 440 hertz, it ’ s like the middle of the treble clef, but it ’ s a relatively song kind of sound. And then the second part that ’ s a major-tenth above, that ’ s like a pennywhistle. But it goes together in the lapp instrument. Well, mouse are capable of biphonation, so they can create two pitches at the like fourth dimension. And they basically have that signature — the lower one is a outspoken sound, and the amphetamine one is a very pure pennywhistle sound, and they are about that far apart, about a tenth aside. So it does have the touch, in the sense, of a mouse sing. ”
( “ Oh my gosh, that is incredible ! ” Lavalle replied after being told Teie ’ s theory. “ He ’ sulfur talking about all the harmonics that are happening good in the overtone, which is… Wow ! That ’ s so cool. ” )
Teie is quick to add that he doesn ’ thymine think cats responding to “ Window ” think there ’ s a sneak in the board. rather, he compares it to the means a violin sounds like a female tattle voice or an electric guitar with some advance on it sounds like a human scream. “ It ’ s not as if we ’ re remember, ‘ Oh, that ’ s the homo scream. I need to respond with an adrenal rush, ’ ” he says. “ It ’ s just a feel, and I think that would be the lapp with the cats. It ’ s like, ‘ I feel like going toward that sound. ’ ”
This besides helps explain the variety of responses among cats to, not precisely “ Window, ” but besides Teie ’ s Music for Cats. Cats, like humans, are individuals, and like humans, they can have different tastes in music. To that end, when Galaxy tried playing “ Window ” for his cats, he said he got just one taker : “ Three slept through it, one left the room, one poked his oral sex up and one came toward the sound. ”
inactive, sound and music can have practical purposes when working with cats. A softer, higher human voice can make a guy more hope of a homo, Galaxy says. And last year, Louisiana State University researchers found that cat-specific music like Teie ’ mho could be used to calm cats down during differently nerve-racking veterinarian visits. still, Galaxy says he ’ south wary of music as a one-size-fits-all fix : “ If you ’ re in a shelter and there are a twelve cat in there, and you impose a good on them, you ’ re risking three or four of them being miserable from it. ”
He continues : “ This is sort of the real corroborate of my own shape — trying to stop the generalization of any species. At some point, I hope that folks will accept that their cats are just like us — they ’ re animals whose preferences are formed over the naturally of their life. And I think that that ’ s just what gets glossed over in sort of viral trends like this. ”