Universal Music is hoping to tap into the enormous market of the owners of approximately 3.3 million pet cats that live in Australia. Their new album – Music for Cats – comprises five pieces by US composer and cellist David Teie and has been specifically written for the feline ear. Not only that, according to the marketing blurb they have been scientifically proven to enrich the lives of cats and provide a calming influence for our feline friends.

“We’re thrilled to be part of this world-first project and break into the massive untapped market of non-human music fans,” said an anony-mouse spokesperson for Universal. “The possibilities are endless for more species specific ‘Music For’ albums: dogs and horses could all be on the cards. David Teie’s creative ideas, passion and solid research has laid the perfect foundation for success and in his words, ‘A hundred years from now people will have to be taught that music was once only for humans’.”

David Teie’s music is composed especially for cats to enjoy

Teie’s music incorporates cat-centric sounds and classical elements, drawing on the sounds cats hear as kittens – birds chirping, suckling for milk and their mother’s purr – in the first ever major record deal intended as music “not for humans”. While this may be the first music composed with cats as the intended listeners, it’s certainly not the first time that composers have been inspired by cats. Here’s a look at Limelight‘s top five works inspired by our feline companions:

5. Duetto buffo di due gatti

This duet for two cats – is often attributed to Rossini, but it is unlikely to have been Rossini who assembled material from Otello into this comically caterwauling duet.

French soprano Natalie Dessay and French singer-songwriter Camille

4. For I Will Consider my Cat Jeoffrey

This is the second movement from Benjamin Britten’s cantata for four soloists, choir and organ, Rejoice in the Lamb – a setting of poetry by Christopher Smart, written while the poet was confined to a mental asylum. In Britten’s setting, the organ line winds around the singer like a cat winds around your legs.

Treble Michael Hartnett and organist George Malcolm

3. Duo Miaule

Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges (The child and the spells) tells the story of a child whose toys and animals turn on him after he has mistreated them. The ‘meowed duet’, a conversation between a male and a female cat, is often seen as a parody of Wagner.

Fiona Kimm and Malcolm Walker in the 1987 Glyndebourne production of Ravel’s L’Enfant et les Sortileges

2. Practical Cats

Alan Rawsthorne’s entertainment for speaker and orchestra is the thinking person’s Cats the Musical, a 1954 composition based on texts from T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.

Robert Donat and the Philharmonia Orchestra

1. Peter and the Wolf

But as far as cats in music go, Prokofiev’s clarinet-solo characterisation is a cataclysmic masterpiece of feline slinkiness.

The Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra


David Teie’s Music for Cats it out on Universal Music on October 28