Cat Piano.

This crazy musical instrument was designed in 1650 by Athanasius Kircher, a 17th century German Jesuit scholar.

The piano was designed to raise the spirits of an Italian prince who was too stressed out. The musician would select cats whose voices were at different pitches then arrange them in the pens accordingly. The piano delivered sharp pokes into the tails of the cats.

Link (via Nothing to do with Arbroath)


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The Muppets' Marvin Suggs had a similar "Muppaphone", much like Monty Python's Arthur Ewing's "Mousaphone".

In Michael Moorcock's Elric series, there is mentioned a chorus of eunuchs each trained to perfectly sing one note. I don't believe they needed to cued by poking or pounding.
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Undoubtedly the inspiration for the "organ" that the Sultan plays in Terry Gilliam's film "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen." In an early sequence, the Sultan is "entertaining" the Baron with a performance of a little opera he's composed called "The Torturer's Apprentice." The instrument he plays looks like a complicated organ and contains a cage full of wretched prisoners. As the Sultan presses the keys and pulls the stops, spikes poke into various prisoners to make them yelp with pain.

As someone who has been clawed trying to shoo a cat downstairs against its will, I can take comfort in the fact that this non-ASPCA-approved instrument probably never actually was successfully used. Would your cat allow itself to be crammed into its little cage? Or stay in it once the poking began? Also, there are only 7 cats there, but 31 keys.
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