Flute Tip of the Week: Protect your flute from your cats

For those of you with cats, you probably already know that they do not always mix. Here are a few things you can do to safeguard your flute from your beloved pets.

1. Cats have a tendency to want to knock things off shelves, desks, or tables so if you must leave your flute out in between practice sessions, make sure you put it somewhere that the cat cannot lie on it, try to play with it, or knock it onto the floor.

2. Open cases are also tempting to kitties to use as impromptu kitty beds. I know, it doesn’t look all that comfortable, but they don’t seem to care. You don’t want them leaving their fur in your flute case where it can get into your flute’s mechanism, so keep your case closed.

3. Don’t use your flute as a toy to tempt your cat with. If you provoke your cat into batting at your flute with his paw, you may end up with some new scratches on your flute, or worse, a claw could hook and tear a pad.

4. Even in its case, your flute can be vulnerable. The best thing to do is to always keep your flute somewhere that is inaccessible to your cats, whether that is on the highest shelf possible (still risky int my opinion), in a drawer, or behind a securely closed and latched door.

If your cat is drawn to your flute or your music paraphernalia, it is probably because he has observed how important it is to you. That seems to make cats want to be on your stuff, whether it is in an effort to be closer to you, to get your attention, or just to be in the way, who knows? Taking some common sense steps to keep your flute safe will keep things harmonious between you and your cat.

Cats and Flutes

I’ve noticed that many flute people are also cat people. I have always had cats and I seem to know more flute people with cats than with dogs. Maybe this is just my experience, but I wonder if there is something to it.

Cats do seem to make good musical companions because they are usually pretty disinterested in what you are doing and will leave you alone when you practice, though they may complain if you spend a lot of time in the high register. Some flute friends were at my house last week to read quartets and I was certain one of my cats was about to swat the person playing the first part of a particularly high-reaching piece. Turned out that he just wanted to see if he could get her to share her chair.

My cats do seem to have an affinity for my flute bag (and anyone else’s!) so I can’t leave it lying on a table or else it will be covered in fur. The same goes for open flute cases. Very cute, but not good for the flute! A couple of them also delight in clearing any table or desk of music, tuners, metronomes, etc., with reckless abandon. They then look up at me as if to say “I was only doing my stretching exercises. Didn’t you want this table cleared off?”

One of my cats particularly likes the Baroque flute. When I play it for him, he gets this beatific look on his face and he gives a lovely little meow in the pauses between phrases.

I probably sound like the crazy cat lady, but I share my home and often my practice space with a colorful cast of feline characters. I just hope they get as much out of it as I do!