Monday 9 June 2014

Himalayan Cat Comes Running When American Idol Finalist Sings

A finalist on American Idol - (s)he must be a great singer - says that when she is singing at home her domestic cat companion, a pedigree Himalayan, comes running, jumps up onto her, paws her face excitedly and meows. What is going on, she asks. Note: read about the Himalayan on this page.

Dr Fox hints that her singing may mimic a distress call or the call of prey. This attracts her cat. This may be correct but he is guessing. There is still a lot to know about cat behavior.

I have a gut feeling that the Himalayan cat is interpreting her superb singing as a call as a mother cat might call her offspring. The call may be intensified by her singing but she may also call her cat in the usual way. The routine of calling then singling and her cat's response may have been inadvertently trained into her cat.

The person may have called and then sang and over time the cat associated her singing with a heightened version of a call to come. The excitement may be due to the apparent urgency of the call.

This sort of informal training happens all the time at home. The classic way it develops is when feeding your cat. You call at the same time of day every day and make the sounds of putting food down on the floor. Your cat associates these activities with food and comes. It is reward based training - positive reinforcement.

This person singing will always - I am guessing - respond very pleasantly when her cat comes to her during her singing sessions. This is the reward that her cat gets which encourages her to do it again and again as it becomes gradually more trained in.

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