You, like the rest of us, have probably been jamming out to your favorite songs all your life. As children, we start with Disney’s cartoon sing-alongs; as teens, we move on to High School Musical; and as adults, well, our serenades are typically performed in the seclusion of our showers or vehicles.
So, if you’re going to be jamming, you want to have your furry feline friends beside you, right? We share everything else with them—our pillows, our chairs, not to mention our hearts, so why not our music, too? It’s only natural that you want to include your furry baby in your musical moments.
However, you might have experienced aversion—or even aggression—when belting out a tune in front of your precious kitties. Every cat responds to music and singing differently, but why is it that your cat freaks out at a melody?
Why do cats hate singing?
Singing, though fun for people, can trigger strange behavior in cats–leaving some purring and others clawing. Many cat owners have reported their cats attempting to physically stop their singing. Kitty may be trying to put an end to your ensemble because the singing is loud, scary, or simply not their style!
Those aren’t the only reasons why cat lovers have begun to question whether or not their cats actually enjoy their singing—some believe their cats might even prefer some alternative music choices.
Let’s dive a little deeper and explore each possible reason for this feline phenomenon!
Reason 1: Because It’s Loud
Though it can be difficult to imagine our feline best friends as fierce hunters stalking their prey, we can’t deny that they still have some pretty strong predator instincts and senses. This explains why your wet-food-loving cat will come running when they hear you open a can of any kind—no matter how discreet you try to be.
Cats hear better than people and dogs, due to a hearing range of 45 to 64,000 Hertz. This means that cats can hear sounds both lower and higher than what we can, but especially higher—nearly two whole octaves higher!
That beats hearing doggy whistles by a long shot—no offense, pups.
What does this have to do with your singing?
Well, we as humans like our music louder than what our cats do. Cats have more sensitive ears than we sometimes give them credit. Your feline friend’s powerful ears can also explain why cats hate things like aluminum foil, too.
So, despite all your loving intentions, your cat may think your singing is actually a little painful—and not because you’re a bad singer but simply because it’s loud for your cat’s powerful ears.
Reason 2: Because Singing Can Be Scary
Dog lovers have been known to give cats a bad rep as finicky, antisocial creatures. While this may be true of some cats, most cats overall do indeed have a more… sensitive constitution.
Some cats can get stressed easily. As natural-born predators, however, they’re like the strong, silent character type in movies: they’re not always great at telling us when they’re stressed or what’s causing the stress. This is why it’s important to look out for signs of stress like diarrhea, overgrooming, or a sudden change in behavior.
How does singing play into stress? If you are randomly bellowing out into song when your cat is nearby, you might be frightening them.
It may not be the volume or pitch of your singing that’s scaring them, but rather the unexpectedness of it.
Have you ever been standing near a door that automatically closes and it slams shut with a deafening bang! that you weren’t expecting, like, at all? My apartment’s backdoor does that and I jump every single time.
It’s kind of like that for your kitty if they weren’t expecting you to break into song. Try easing them into it or even just starting a little quieter when you do go to sing and your kitty likely won’t get so scared.
Reason 3: Because It’s Not Their Style
We never want to discriminate, but it has been supposed that cats prefer more… species-specific music. It’s hard to imagine what any cat could possibly have against our favorite queens, Beyoncé and Adele, but your cat may simply have alternative musical tastes.
What can we say, our cats deserve a world all their own, including their music!
Think of the sounds your cat would be hearing out in the wild—leaves rustling, birds chirping, and mice squeaking. There are even feline-specific soundtracks available that merge this natural symphony with gentle human noises like classical instrumentals and soft conversation. You can also find dozens of YouTube videos with music specifically for cats.
If you have a cat that gets anxious when left home alone, set up a secret camera while you’re on your next outing and try out one of these videos meant to calm your kitty! If it helped your cat relax while you were away, you may even try humming along to it when home with your cat, to familiarize them with your voice.
You know how we would do just about anything to get our beloved kitties to purr, even for just a second? As it turns out, cats enjoy hearing that purring noise, too! Some species-specific music for cats mimics purring and tones from different cat vocalizations.
You may not be able to purr back at your cat, but who’s to say you can’t give your cat a purr-tastic music selection!
It’s Probably Not Your Singing Ability
Whether you’ve been known to sing in the opera or for being the one who should really avoid the karaoke machine, your musical abilities probably aren’t what’s bothering your cat when you sing. Take heart. If a professional singer rolled up into your house to sing to your cat and they sang too loudly or too high-pitched, your cat probably won’t like it any better than your singing.
It’s Not Your Lips or Mouth Movements
Additionally, it’s probably not your lip movement that’s bothering your cat.
There have been a few scattered sources that suggest cats may be specifically bothered by the lip movements of singing.
The first problem with this is that unless you’re rapping, lip movements are generally pretty slow when it comes to singing. Singing involves holding notes and slower mouth movements than speaking.
Additionally, after meeting (literally) more than 100,000 cats I’ve never seen one that reacted to a person’s lips so if you’re worried that your mouth movements are causing the problem you can rest easy knowing that they aren’t.
Do Cats Understand Singing?
As much as we wish our feline companions could just tell us what they want or when something is wrong, alas, they cannot.
It sure would make explaining vet visits easier, though.
Similar to how we don’t understand any specific words from our cats’ meows, our cats don’t understand what we’re singing. If you say their name or a phrase they are used to, it may pique your kitty’s interest, but they don’t know exactly what you’re saying.
Cats may pick up on the emotion or tone you use while singing or speaking but the words will remain a mystery.
Can I Convince My Cat To Like My Singing?
If you are still musically inclined after learning that your kitty hates singing, don’t lose hope! You don’t have to stop singing cold turkey, but you can take precautions to more gently acclimate your beloved feline to your passionate serenades:
- Start quiet before increasing your volume
- Associate your singing with gentle touch if your cat is a cuddler
- Include your kitty’s name/nicknames in the song
How To Tell If Cats Don’t Like Singing
This is one area where cats rarely subtle and they’ll usually let you know very clearly that they aren’t a fan of your singing. But if you want a little more insight, check out this funny video of cats letting their owners know that they’ve had enough singing:
How To Tell If Cats Like Singing
On the upside, however, if your kitty purrs and comes closer when you sing, they probably enjoy hearing you!
Part of the adorable nature of cats is that every cat is uniquely purrfect, so each unique kitty will have their own recognizable behaviors.
Sometimes that means just laying down and acting indifferent!
While it might not be your cat’s favorite activity, if your cat enjoys it singing could be one of many fun things you can do with your feline friend!
To say all cats hate singing would be putting cats into a labeled box—and we know how much our furry kings and queens defy labels and limits! Their personalities simply will not be contained, so just because your cat isn’t a fan now doesn’t mean they can’t grow to like singing.
Incorporate the gentle association techniques into part of your cat’s routine and watch over time to see if their enjoyment grows.
Cats aren’t big on changes or surprises inflicted upon them, but if you are kind and patient, your kitty may just surprise you!
What do you think?
Will your cat become music’s next biggest fan?