Apr. 26th, 2009

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I'm really cross.  I've spent the morning doing things I needed to do, and then I spent an hour or so peeling and chopping the vegetables, constructing a chicken pot roast in the new slow cooker, followed by lunch.

The instant I'm ready to go and play in the yard, a freezing cold wind arrives and the sun disappears.  What's that all about then?  It's not 2 hours since we were promised balmy temperatures and a lazy sunny afternoon.  What use are all these weather forecasters?  Sack 'em all!

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I've been having a quiet evening listening to some of my favourite music and reading a very pleasant book, when my attention was taken by Morgan, (Morgan III, that is) lying on my bed.

I was in that state of delight brought about by achingly beautiful music that makes one feel as though one's heart might burst, when I noticed Morgan prosaically washing himself, without the slightest indication from his ears, which normally twitch at every sound, that anything was happening at all.  If he was aware of the music, he gave no indication that he could even hear it, much less whether he approved of it or not.

Bramble was asleep in the chair and he too gave no indication that he could hear anything, let alone take delight in it.

So I started to wonder about cats and music.  I know that dogs are often affected by music; I used to know a border collie who would howl uncontrollably whenever she heard the theme tune to The Archers, just that particular tune and nothing else that anyone ever discovered.  I've also heard about farmers who play music to their cows when they're being milked to prevent restlessness and to give a higher/better milk yield, and I've even heard of music being played to those poor battery hens so that they don't pluck out their feathers and indulge in other unwanted behaviour.

My own cat Morgan II used to howl remorselessly whenever I sang or played the fiddle, but ignored music on TV or the record player.  I have noticed that if I start singing Morgan leaves the room, and I don't think my voice is that bad, even now...........  I was, after all, trained to sing and I still sing in tune, even if I don't have enough breath to sustain a note.

All three cats normally appear to ignore sounds from the TV, radio or CD player, except for the occasional lion growl, or crying baby, which make Phoebe's fur bristle.  And Morgan once spent an insane three minutes or so trying to get at the mouse on the TV, running round the back, and crawling onto the shelf underneath. 

So I've really started wondering how the cats perceive human music.  Can it really be true that they listen intently to the birds singing outside, but Carreras is a closed book to them?

It's really interesting, and I think I must spend some time tomorrow seeing if I can find anything on Wikipedia or somewhere else on t'Internet.

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