June 12, 2012 at 04:06 PM · In another post I've read someone who had cat playing in the case and sleeping on the piano.

My cat doesn't like my playing, now, as soon as I take my bow she runs away…

So are your cats attentive listeners or do they just flee?

Replies (37)

June 12, 2012 at 04:09 PM · One of mine adores it, and seems more interested the more 'moving' the music is.

The other is somewhat indifferent.

June 12, 2012 at 04:12 PM · My cats can take it or leave it.

The dogs all tolerate it...

However, when I practiced the soprano sax...our old retriever (sadly deceased at this point) would actually voluntarily leave his precious blankie in the family room and hide in his crate until I was done...

My daughter's budgies are now living in my music room...they don't seem to mind the violin/viola at all...they even join in at certain points...

My larger parrots don't mind either...but when they join in...they drown me out and I can't hear myself at I'll stick with the budgies...appreciative, but not overwhelmingly so...

June 12, 2012 at 05:55 PM · My dog ( small heintz 57) will follow me into the room I practice in and sit and watch me practice. She doesn't seem to mind.

June 12, 2012 at 06:24 PM · This discussion is an example of why there should be a claws in our agreement that we lionize the great violinists of the past - such as Heifetz and Oistrakh - whose recordings are littered with examples of purrfect playing. If I ever even think of comparing their playing to me...Ow!!! I just can't imagine me Auer. That's the mane reason I don't think about these things, and that is something a person can take pride in. To wonder what cats think about when they hear violin playing should give one paws. If you are ever tempted to think about a violin and a cat, nip it in the bud. (You don't have to thank me for this - just put it on my tabby)

June 12, 2012 at 07:09 PM · Yes, but break a string and see how quickly they disappear!

June 12, 2012 at 08:08 PM · Sorry you asked - I think mine are convinced its real cat gut. I just have to raise the violin and Nora scoots as far from earshot as possible... :P

June 12, 2012 at 08:21 PM · As with so many things, it depends on the cat. Our cat occasionally wanders into our music room while we're playing - but she soon wanders out again, not appearing to care one way or the other. She does sometimes curl up in my mandolin case if I leave it open - it's a purrfect fit.

On the other hand, the cat that lives in the building where we have bluegrass jams will often walk right into the middle of the circle, lie down on the floor, and enjoy the music along with the rest of us.

June 12, 2012 at 09:08 PM · My cat has yet to come and investigate where the noises are coming from, probably because I'm still at the cat-strangling stage ;)

June 12, 2012 at 09:21 PM · once I was at a place with a family and two cats who maybe never heard a violin before. As I started practicing they came running and answering me. I think they thought I am in danger and crying for help or something ;)

June 12, 2012 at 09:34 PM · When I first started learning my cat would run screaming from the room. Now she will sometimes voluntarily come in and sit and watch for 10 minutes or so. I like to think it's a sign of my playing improving but she's probably just making snide little criticisms of my technique under her breath.

June 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM · Of my last 5 dogs (over 25 years) 3 have sung along (that is NOT fun to try to work around/over), one flees and the other doesn't pay any attention.

June 13, 2012 at 01:49 AM · My daughter's teacher has an ill tempered cat that sits on top of my daughters music, hisses at her when she tries to retrieve it and stalks out as soon as she starts playing. Our own cat tends to do that frantic running around thing cats do before settling down to listen to the rest of the practice on my lap.

June 13, 2012 at 02:22 AM · One of our cats is indifferent, the other chases the bow. I don't know whether she likes the sound, but she thinks the bow is a toy. Talk about distracting.

June 13, 2012 at 02:49 AM · It's fascinating how they're all different. For 15 years I belonged to a calico cat named Desiré (Desi for short). She didn't like my playing one bit, but was kind enough to let me live in her apartment and serve her. She especially didn't like my high notes on the E string. She'd rarely come into the living room when I practiced, but did so once in a while to check something out in a window. Sometimes as an experiment I'd stop what I was working on and play a really high note. Desi would shoot me a dirty look as if to say “what are you doing? You're just doing that to annoy me, aren't you?” If I played the note again, she'd promptly leave the room. Maybe I unwittingly said something terrible to her in Cat-o-nese!

In those days I used to listen to vinyl records. Desi was usually indifferent to records – except when the needle got to the end and made that nasty noise, which bothered both of us. The only time I saw Desi react negatively to recorded music was once in the middle of Ein Heldenleben. It was nowhere near any of the solos, but in that agitated section with a lot of percussion which always reminded me of the German invasion of Poland. Desi looked very disturbed and left the living room.

Some months back I visited two bassist friends who have two cats. I played there, and one of the cats was indifferent while the other one was entranced by my playing!

I have a cellist friend who had a cat who was generally sanguine about her playing – except for one note, which always made him meow his disapproval in no uncertain terms. Once she gave an at-home recital. Came the passage with the offending note and he meowed raucously, as if to say “I thought I told you not to play that note!” Of course everyone cracked-up and the recital came to a stop!

June 13, 2012 at 03:02 AM · My husband's cat LOVES the violin. No matter how bad the practice session is, she either twines around my leg or lies in the case purring. The other two cats could care less.

My dog tends to lie down and fall asleep at my feet. This is a conditioned response I think, because when she was a puppy my teacher allowed me to bring her to lessons and I used to have to stand on her leash to keep her out of trouble. So she'd finally give up flailing around puppy-style and take a nap.

June 13, 2012 at 03:16 AM · My cats cannot leave the room quickly enough, but one of my dogs comes running the minute she hears me unzip my case. She is my biggest fan. :)

June 13, 2012 at 03:38 AM · I think it is the high notes that bother my cat, very soon after starting she always goes into the next room.

June 13, 2012 at 07:08 AM · Pirisino, I think those are my cats you are referring to ;)

My teacher has a dog who has perfect pitch. When I'm perfectly in tune, the ears are up. If I make a mistake, the ears go down. Its quite funny, and useful!

June 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM · Even after 2-1/2 years, as soon as I start playing, Emily The Cat bolts from the room like she was shot out of a cannon!! We also have a dove named Persica -- he frequently joins in. This is fine, unless it's while I'm trying to tune. Then his enthusiastic cooing throws my tuner off, and I have to wait to finish tuning until he decides to take a break. I have been able to determine, however, that he coos in a slightly flattened E-flat.

June 13, 2012 at 11:47 AM · That was indeed yours Mendy ;) But I didn't wanted to hijack the thread just to speak of our little furred family ^.^"

June 13, 2012 at 11:54 AM · My Black Cat likes the high notes and the artificial harmonics. She makes happy sounds and rolls around on the floor, or rubs legs, or dances around on the desk.

Black Cat is strange...

My Grey Cat doesn't care for such things.

June 13, 2012 at 01:04 PM · Ha Ha, I am glad you asked this question! My 19 year old cat hates it when I play, something my husband thinks is hysterical. He (Dumpster, my cat) especially hates the E string!! I am a beginner, and in my defense, when I am at my teachers, her cat is all over me and always in the room when we practice. I am wondering if a cat is exposed to the music as a kitten, they are more tolerant of it...

I loved the cat gut comment :)

June 13, 2012 at 01:30 PM · Just curious...for all those whose feline/canine companions react the effect lessened when you use a mute? not necessarily a heavy practice mute, but any mute? My singing dog would desist when I muted (a good thing, since he was atonal).

June 13, 2012 at 04:10 PM · I've had a long line of cats throughout my life. ALL of them, invariably, will sit close to the speakers if something very harmonious and melodic (think Mozart) is on the stereo. They "smile" and their ears move to obvious changes in the music. They relax.

If it is me playing.....not so much.

June 13, 2012 at 04:23 PM · My cat ran away in panic the first time I played my first violin. But once he "understood" where the sound was coming from, he got used to it and now he seems to ignore it (sometimes he even falls asleep in my chair or bed while I practice).

Also, he "talks" a lot (likes to "meaow..." repeatedly whenever he sees anybody, for no apparent reason, and even responds if you talk back to him) and when my electronic tuner is on, it always picks up the sound as a slightly low B-flat.

Also, my first teacher had a dog who was usually quiet during lessons, but turned her ears down and howled during dissonant passages (such as the series of double stops in the Bruch concerto).

June 14, 2012 at 11:15 AM · Black Cat seems to have approved of my decision to practice Vieuxtemps' Op. 16 #3 this week. (Many, many natural and artificial harmonics!)

June 14, 2012 at 05:37 PM · Sandy: I bow to a master!

Scout used to slink away when I got above 3rd position on the E. Now he just wants food.

Trixie, our Alzheimer's doggie, has cataracts and is pretty well deaf. She usually sleeps while I play.

June 18, 2012 at 02:16 PM · Wow! my first Internet community and not only are you violin lovers, but animal lovers as well! Between the three people in my family, we own nine animals. I confess that five are mine. All my two cats (Decembrius and Cody Lou) care about are cases. When practice starts, the race to sleep in them ensues. My three dachshunds sit in a row and cock their heads in curious and happy unison.

June 18, 2012 at 11:10 PM · I have two cats, and they couldn't be more different.

One is very friendly with strangers, and loves finding new (parents') laps to sleep on, so always makes himself present when he hears people arrive for a lesson.

The other hates the sound of the violin, and often appears five minutes after the last pupil leaves. Sometimes he'll be caught out, when we've merely been talking and not playing for a few minutes, and he'll literally back out of the door once he sees the instruments. If he's caught short while upstairs, he'll make a mad dash during a pause in playing.

Both, however, clear off as soon as I pick the tuba up.

June 19, 2012 at 12:59 AM · That reminds me of how my cat, Desi, would usually come in at the end of a lesson that I would give, to say hello. She almost always knew when the lesson was really over, as opposed to even a pretty long pause in playing, when I would explain something. Maybe it was the subtle sounds of the violins being put away...

June 19, 2012 at 01:07 AM · Hi, this is to Raphael. You don;t know me, but I thought to tell you that my kitty is also called "Desi". It is a nickname though, and he is a boy.

June 19, 2012 at 04:29 PM · Hmmm, my cat doesn't mind my playing she can sleep through my practise sessions. But one of my dogs in the beginning of my training--especially when doing double stops, would howl and whine as in discomfort. Talk about giving me a complex.

June 19, 2012 at 06:33 PM · TO: John Pierce

FROM: Sandy Marcus


To me you bow?...Wow!!!


June 19, 2012 at 08:28 PM · One of our cats has a dignified way of leaving the room when I play. "It's not about your playing, but I do have business elsewhere." The other doesn't mind.

June 19, 2012 at 08:37 PM · no experience with cats, but my violin teacher's dogs seem to enjoy my screeching. they are always present, they adore him, and one of them licks me on occasion. initially, this distracted me, but not any more. i think they add a lot to the experience, they dont mind if intonation is bad or notes are missed. and when they sleep, it just increases the level of relaxation that we strive for. just pet them on occasion, and they are yours forever.

June 19, 2012 at 11:40 PM · I flatter myself by thinking my three love to hear me play, but I think it's probably all about who gets to sit in the case.

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