Can a Cat Be a Telephone?

Eliza | 12 - 09 - 2023
cat telephone myth

Sounds impossible? Most of us wouldn’t fathom such an idea. However, scientists have proved that a cat can act as a telephone! We know it sounds weird, but we are right! In 1929, two scientists at Princeton University used a live cat as a telephone. You may think it’s a cat telephone myth! But after reading this blog, you will know how a cat can be used as a telephone. 

Are Cats Intelligent?

Are you a person who loves cats? If yes, meet the world’s smallest cat breed!

Cats excel at learning new things. They also have the ability to apply what they learn in real life. However, knowing the full extent of these animals’ cognitive abilities is still a challenging subject for many researchers.

The scientists who performed the cat telephone experiment belonged to Princeton University.
  • A. True
  • B. False

Can a Cat Communicate with Humans?


Cat owners know how their pets communicate with them. The “meows” from cats make the owners realize that their pets are trying to tell them something. Also, by looking at the position of a cat’s ears, humans can tell what the animals are attempting to communicate with them. These are some reasons why cats are considered brilliant pets. Check out the most expensive pets in the world!

How Do Cats Communicate with Each Other?


Most of the time, cats do not use their “meows” to communicate with each other, or with other animals. Instead, a cat uses its visual, vocal, and olfactory senses to convey messages to other cats. Since cats are pretty clever, lots of research has been done using them right from the ancient days. 

The Cat Telephone Experiment

In 1929, Professor Ernest Glen Wever, and his research assistant, Charles William Bray, converted a cat into a telephone. The experiment turned out to be successful. You might wonder how a cat is even remotely associated with a telephone. But the two scientists have shown us that the animal can act as a telephone. Let’s look more closely at this cat phone experiment!

History of the Cat Telephone

Wever and Bray used an unconscious cat for their experiment. The science behind the cat telephone experiment revolved around the auditory nerve. Wever and Bray’s idea was to test the way sound is perceived by the auditory nerve.

First, the scientists sedated the cat. Then, they opened its skull and accessed its auditory nerve. They attached one end of a telephone wire to the nerve, and the other end to a telephone receiver. When Bray spoke into the ears of the cat, Wever was able to listen to it through the telephone receiver at a distance of 50 feet in a soundproof room!

Whenever Bray spoke at a certain frequency, Wever could hear it from the receiver end at the very same frequency. However, when Bray increased the sound pitch, there was an immediate increase in the frequency of the sound that Wever heard. The experiment proved that the frequency of response in the auditory nerve is directly proportional to the frequency of the original sound. Thus, Wever and Bray succeeded in proving this theory through their cat telephone demonstration.


Was the Cat Telephone a Real Invention?

Yes, indeed! The cat telephone is as true as all the other inventions in the field of science. Check out the early versions of inventions we use today!

In 1936, the Society of Experimental Psychologists awarded Wever and Bray with the first Howard Crosby Warren Medal of Society for their findings in the cat phone experiment.

Are Cats Used as Telephones?

Cats might be used nowadays for various purposes. But with the advent of technology and the numerous new styles and brands of mobile phones these days, people have forgotten that cats were once used as telephones in the 20th century!

Cat Telephone Research and Education

Surprisingly, Wever and Bray did not think much about the practical use of their experiment. However, the techniques they developed for the experiment proved useful to many other researchers studying human hearing. The experiment also paved the way for the design of cochlear implants, which are devices that convert sound waves into electrical signals to the human brain. 


We hope you enjoyed reading our fascinating blog on using a cat as a phone! Refresh your memory by answering the Quiz on this page.

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