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A Crowdfunded 'Music For Cats' Album Is On the Way

No matter how hard you try to force them to, your cats will probably never like your music. But according to composer David Teie and psychologists at the University of Wisconsin, that does not necessarily mean that you have bad taste. By using tempos and sounds that cats respond to (which are innately different than humans), Teie was able to create music specifically for the animals that is also surprisingly pleasant for their owners. "Most of our sense of music comes from the womb," he explains. "We form an understanding of rhythm from our mother's pulse. Cats establish theirs after birth from the sounds around them."

Following his popular research study earlier this year on cats and the way they respond to music, Teie shared some of the tracks that he composed for cats online (which we put to the test with unofficial mental_floss mascots Olly and Pearl). Now the musician is back with a Kickstarter project so that he can make an entire "Music For Cats" album, the first-ever collection of music scientifically crafted for the species.

Using Internet-famous cats including @nala_cat and @baconcup as models in a video (above), Teie introduces the concept and science of cat music and discusses his plans for the album. The Kickstarter campaign has already exceeded its goal of $20,000 by 300 percent, but backers can still pledge to secure a digital download or CD set of the album.

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Big Questions
Why Do Cats Freak Out After Pooping?
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Cats often exhibit some very peculiar behavior, from getting into deadly combat situations with their own tail to pouncing on unsuspecting humans. Among their most curious habits: running from their litter box like a greyhound after moving their bowels. Are they running from their own fecal matter? Has waste elimination prompted a sense of euphoria?

Experts—if anyone is said to qualify as an expert in post-poop moods—aren’t exactly sure, but they’ve presented a number of entertaining theories. From a biological standpoint, some animal behaviorists suspect that a cat bolting after a deposit might stem from fears that a predator could track them based on the smell of their waste. But researchers are quick to note that they haven’t observed cats run from their BMs in the wild.

Biology also has a little bit to do with another theory, which postulates that cats used to getting their rear ends licked by their mother after defecating as kittens are showing off their independence by sprinting away, their butts having taken on self-cleaning properties in adulthood.

Not convinced? You might find another idea more plausible: Both humans and cats have a vagus nerve running from their brain stem. In both species, the nerve can be stimulated by defecation, leading to a pleasurable sensation and what some have labeled “poo-phoria,” or post-poop elation. In running, the cat may simply be working off excess energy brought on by stimulation of the nerve.

Less interesting is the notion that notoriously hygienic cats may simply want to shake off excess litter or fecal matter by running a 100-meter dash, or that a digestive problem has led to some discomfort they’re attempting to flee from. The fact is, so little research has been done in the field of pooping cat mania that there’s no universally accepted answer. Like so much of what makes cats tick, a definitive motivation will have to remain a mystery.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Animals
Listen to the Impossibly Adorable Sounds of a Baby Sloth
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RODRIGO ARANGUA/AFP/GettyImages

Sometimes baby sloths seem almost too adorable to be real. But the little muppet-faced treasures don't just look cute—turns out they sound cute, too. We know what you're thinking: How could you have gone your whole life without knowing what these precious creatures sound like? Well, fear not: Just in time for International Sloth Day (today), we have some footage of how the tiny mammals express themselves—and it's a lot of squeaking. (Or maybe that's you squealing?)

The sloths featured in the heart-obliterating video below come from the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. The institution rescues orphaned sloths, rehabilitates them, and gets them ready to be released back into the wild.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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