Cats and Audio

No, this will not be another monologue where I profess my undying love for Larry, our house cat, the furry little monster with a taste for human flesh and a weird fascination with the refrigerator. Larry is a music lover too. Ever since he was a kitten, we surrounded him with the sounds of Yes, Flying Lotus, and Dvorak, and now his long legs fumble into any room where music is playing. Larry will then sprawl himself out, close his eyes, and listen along.

Alright. I've broken my promise already by talking too much about Larry.

Here are a couple pictures from Reddit user whitekeys of his Adcom GFA 5802 amplifier after years of his feline friend using it as a heated chair.

After whitekeys cleaned his amp of cat hair, he said he heard improvements in the bass.

Larry tends to stay away from my Cambridge 540a integrated amplifier. Rather than comfort, Larry seeks excitement and dreams of becoming a DJ. I can't stop him from jumping up on my Rega P1 and pressing his paws against the spinning vinyl. Scratch-Scratch.

mauidj's picture

I have to clean my gear every month or so to prevent the same situation. (3 cats and a dog.) Plus living by the ocean adds a certain patina and glue for the hair balls to stick to.

Keep em coming Ariel ;-)

volvic's picture

As someone who roomed with two rabbits, I know about this.  Luckily most of my equipmet was and is LK Linn gear; Kremlin, Kairn, Klout so there are no vents for hair to enter but it does through CD players so my trusty Parasound CD lens cleaner goes in regularly to remove any dust or rabbit hair.  Good contact cleaner after cleaning innards is also recommended but that is best left to a good technician.  I think the improved bass comes from allowing that poor amp to breathe a little better.  Good stuff Ariel!!!


volvic's picture

Many Manhattan residents such as myself also have a bigger enemy than critter fur and that is all the dust and pollution that is created outside from traffic tends to make its way indoors.  I am always dusting and cleaning the turntable, rack and top of the gear as well as the connectors in the back.   It never ends.  


corrective_unconscious's picture

Most indoor dust in a home is sloughed off human skin, in case you're keeping track of your mortality.

tmsorosk's picture

Incredible pictures Ariel . Lemons favorite thing is to purch herself upon my Levinson amp . She had a bit of a problem when my 400 series amp was replaced with a 500 series but after much tossing and turning and a few restless nights she was able to except the change .

torturegarden's picture

My cats like to sleep on my NAD 2600 amp and I've cleaned the inside more time than I can count. I need to build a small electric fence around the bottom shelf of  my equipment rack.

BB's picture

Cats are drawn to novelty. My indoor-only male cat simply must sit on top of anything new in the house. It's as if he's laying claim to it. Leave a magazine on the floor, and he's on it, like a king on a throne. Fortunately he's been declawed, neutered and he has never sprayed in his 11 years. When I brought a new and quite expensive turntable into the listening room, he was fascinated by the rotating platter. The small undulations of the tonearm really transfixed him. The table sits on a high granite-topped stand, and I thought the height would be enough to deter him, but I could see him wiggling his butt in preparation to launch an attack. I squelched that activity really quick. So I had a huge custom dust cover made that covers the whole rig. The top of that must be about 4 feet above the ground. A few days later I could see that the cover (which is quite heavy, with its own feet) had been nudged off center by a quarter inch of so. Then I could detect paw prints on top. The table, arm and cartridge were safe inside, but another attack to the flank might push the cover over the edge and squish that pricey tonearm. So I secured the cover's feet onto the granite with adhesive rubber feet as chocks, moved the stand away from a chair I suspected he was using for his launching pad, and put a beach towel over the whole thing to hide the excitement. I think the attacks have ceased, whether by my changes or because he's grown bored with the rig. He doesn't seem at all interested in my big Apogee ribbons, but I keep a sheet over them just in case. My big ARC tube amps are kept covered, but when in use, I think the sound of the fans and the inferno of all those 6550s has dissuaded him. Listen up solid-state guys: here's a good argument for tubes. This cat's demure sister just sits across the room and scoffs at us. She's never shown interest in audio. Hmmm...does that sound familiar?

markbrauer's picture

Whenever I sit in my listening chair, Clancy senses it and drags himself out of whatever hiding/sleeping place he's using that day and nestles in my lap. His current musical favorite is Mozart's Divertimento K334 in glorious high-res download from Linn. I think he especially likes the bass that Mozart chose to use instead of the usual cello. Or maybe it's just the rhythmic petting he's sure to get. Oh well, on to Chie Ayado's Good Life, another of his favorites. Clancy does seem to prefer the 96/24 version from HDtracks. Cats have good ears you know - and an excellent sense of rhythm.

Ariel Bitran's picture

I never owned a pet in my childhood. I feel very fortunate to have such a nice companion these days who will listen to pretty much anything. I have been told cats love high-pitched and fast-paced music. I try and treat Larry to as much Squarepusher and Mahavishnu Orchestra as possible.

Thanks for sharing your stories. Pets make excellent friends, and time spent with friends is always bettered with music.

mauidj's picture

Mahavishnu Orchestra!!!!! I love your cat!

MiLKMAN's picture

I've put linen tablecloth, what I take off while listening music, on mine amplifier and no problem so far with cat's fur.

soulful.terrain's picture


Good article and informative too. I take the cover off my amps once year and clen every square inch of the inside and every PCB with ProGold and about 50 Q-tips.

Chigo's picture

Awesome stories about music-loving furry friends. Over the years, I've accumulated a few holes in speaker grills (as my cats are fully clawed) and a couple of chewed up cables (as my cats are fully toothed), but I never thought much about furry amps. May have to open them up and assess the situation. My cats typically seem to enjoy most music as well, but occasionally some more brutal metal will send them running from the room like the Audio-pocalypse is pouring from the speakers. That should be every metal artist's goal in writing and recording music--to scare housecats.

JasonVSerinus's picture

Cat chauvinists may whine foul at the mention of canines, but I shall jump litter box regardless. If there's one thing Daisy Mae Doven and Leo Gleesun know, it is to not chase their ball or whatever when it goes under the amps or behind the system. The cables are OFF LIMITS!

Of course, it's also possible that they explore the system when I'm not home. But let's not go there....

moog man's picture

What do you guys to prevent dust from getting in vents? The top of components have vents and are covered in dust weekly. I clean the top but obviously some of that dust must be going inside. Do I need to take the top off to clean or is there something else I can do to prevent dust from getting inside without overheating my gear?

mauidj's picture

Moog Man (love the handle) I clean all my gear thoroughly every 3-4 months. Covers off. Compressed air, Q-tips etc. Fortunately it's not cold around here so the cats don't use the amps as warmers too often. But together with a good amount of sea spray my gear does require serious attention on a regular basis. But so far the Krell electronics and other gear are holding up just fine.

The rare times I do power down my electronics I cover them with a thin coton sheet.

My cartridges were the biggest problem as they hate salt air. MC's crapped out in a year!! Fortunately the wonderful Peter Lederman built me a special StrainGuage to combat the deleterious effects of Mr Salty and so far it's all going well. And the SG is the best I've had in my system so a double whammy :-)

Aloha and Good luck!

moog man's picture

thanks for the advice! I get a ton of dust here in LA, just the reality of city living and living it a house with a bunch of roommates. Lots of dirt kicked up all the time. Sounds like I need to bite the bullet and get my act together on cleaning. Love my HiFi though so it shouldn't be too much of a chore.


moog man

corrective_unconscious's picture

A weak, mini vac with a gooseneck made for delicate things is better than just blowing the dust and hair without control into nooks and crannies.

ElizabethS's picture

Particularly Cockatiels, the dust the create is very much like dusting powder.

This past year i added a Congo African Grey, with even more powder..

So all my stuff has a thick coat of powder all over it.

I am not a dusting maniac. So about once a year I take it all apart and clean up.

labjr's picture

That's nasty!  The air quality must be terrible in your house. Breathing all that junk. Yuk!

DetroitVinylRob's picture

...Just another reason to own valve amps with exposed glass. The problem is not the cats nor to be blamed on the housekeeper... as with Larry, my three are the perrrfect music loving companions. Their behavior is one to set a perrrfect example, when music is playing, they enter the room without ceremony or idle chit-chat about audiophile considerations, make themselves completely comfortable, close there eyes, and just get tuned into the performance.  Who could ask for more? I think one could suggest that they help us relax and listen and they even have been known to contribute a little frequency fill in the range from about 27 to 44 hertz without a fuss. As well as companions and good listeners, I do think house cats are THE Hifi tweek of all time.

Happy Listening! ;^)>