Our new cat

24th March 2015 | Daily Life, Musings | 3 comments

DSC02401We have a new cat, Daisy, adopted from a cat rescue shelter. After a wobbly start, she’s settling down beautifully. Daisy is a very quiet cat who seems not to find it necessary to say anything. One of her few utterances was a moment after her arrival when she shot out of her cat box, leapt onto the fridge, gave a pitiful squeak as if to say, ‘Farewell!’ and plunged recklessly into the darkness behind. Leaning awkwardly over the fridge we could see her little eyes glowing in the dark for several hours before she summoned up the courage to come out. Luckily, things improved quickly from then on.

I was nervous when I first had to practise the piano in her presence. Surely the sound of a Steinway grand could be overwhelming for a small animal? But apart from looking up at me with big eyes, she didn’t seem to find Beethoven disturbing. She went and sat on the windowsill, looking out of the window. In subsequent practice sessions she sat peacefully near me while I played Mozart, Ravel, Brahms and Schubert.

A few days later I raised the stakes with a contemporary piece. It’s jagged and dissonant, though not loud (or no louder than Beethoven or Brahms). This time Daisy was less impressed. She conveyed to me that she would like to leave the room. As I went to open the door for her she looked up and said, ‘Mew!’, again with a hint of ‘Farewell!’

Maybe it was sheer coincidence. Perhaps she was suddenly hungry, or felt like snoozing in a quieter place. Who knows? At any rate, since Daisy is a new experimental subject, I was intrigued. I shall monitor her views as my repertoire changes.


  1. Rikky Rooksby

    Dear Susan, I’ve been enjoying your recent blogs. The cat looks lovely. With regard to her reaction to more dissonant music it reminded me of some thoughts I’ve been having for awhile about tonality itself. That it is a mysterious thing, and that perhaps some parts of C20th music seriously underestimated the consequences of doing away with it (or tryig to). Big topic, I know. There are some interesting metaphysical implications to be derived from the notion of rejecting a center of meaning to things. Sorry if that is a bit elliptical.
    I’m an author of books connected with guitar / songwriting, also a composer with a strong interest in C20th tonal music. Best wishes, Rikky

    • Susan Tomes

      Thank you for your interesting comments. I entirely agree with your remark that ‘certain parts of 20th music seriously underestimated the consequences’ of doing away with tonality. It’s a big topic, as you say!

  2. Fran Wilson

    I think cats make good companions for pianists (being far less demanding and attention-seeking than dogs). Quite a few of my pianist friends and colleagues have cats. My blue Burmese Freddy used to “play the piano” by walking along the keyboard, much to the delight of my students, and very occasionally (he’s very old now) he sits on the lid of the piano and taps the dampers when they move. He is tolerant of most of my repertoire but he will vocalise if I’m practising Messiaen. Perhaps he can hear the birdsong in it?!


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