Meowing to the music
Published 11:01 am Monday, March 30, 2015
Sixth-grader Meaghann “Maggie” Davis wanted to know which type of music would appeal to her cat, so she decided to do an experiment.
“I have always just kind of loved cats a lot,” Maggie said. “And whenever I usually play music that’s kind of upbeat my cat is usually around me more, so that got me wondering.”
The St. Ansgar student went to the Mower County Humane Society for her science fair project. At the shelter, she let 15 of the cats roam free in the room while she played different types of music, including pop, rock, country and love songs. She stood back and let the cats decide where they wanted to lounge.
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When she started the experiment, she theorized the cats would enjoy pop music the best. After three trials of each type of music, her results confirmed her hypothesis.
“It went pretty good,” she said. “My hypothesis was correct; pop did show more interest over everything else.”
Her results for pop music had five cats showing interest the first round, three cats the second round and four cats the third round — more than country, rock and love songs. The experiment took about an hour and a half, since she also tried a few other types of experiments, such as testing older cats compared to younger cats with the music, and letting the cats roam freely through the room versus putting them in a smaller room with fewer distractions.
Though the experiment was a little more difficult than she expected, Maggie said she would do it again in a heartbeat.
“It was really fun,” she said.
Maggie wanted to help people understand cats better, and although this is only a small part in understanding the feline species, she hopes it will make people see their pets in a better light.
“I just want to explain why cats act differently around different sounds and different noises than we do,” she said.
“I kind of want [people] to know that cats opinions matter too, like, animals opinions matter too,” she added. “They have feelings.”
Maggie recently did a research paper on cats and said she found they like music with more sounds and variations in the sound. She was excited to see her cat friends at the humane society to do the project.
The science fair will take place April 16. When her teacher heard her idea for the fair, she told Maggie she would get full points for creativity. Maggie said many people were excited to find out the outcome of the project. According to Maggie, other students’ projects for the fair included testing batteries, airplanes, plant growth, candles and horses reacting to different colors.
Maggie has three cats at home, two of which her family got from the humane society. The family also has two dogs from the humane society.
Maggie was thankful that the Mower County Humane Society let her in to do the experiment and encouraged people to go to the shelter and visit the more than 140 cats and around 20 dogs looking for good homes and loving owners.
“All of them are sweethearts,” she said.