Winslow the cat plays the piano when he's hungry

Pet owner Kate Nyx uploaded a clip showing him playing the instrument for food, which has been viewed more than one million times

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Cats meowing or yowling for food is, while annoying, very normal. However, one cat in the US has made headlines for his unusual way of showing that he’s hungry: by playing the piano.

Winslow, a 7-year-old tabby, was adopted by Kate Nyx and her now-husband when he was found on the streets by a relative at around eight weeks old.

“A cousin of my husband’s found him in their backyard trying to fight their dogs. He was quite dirty and grungy when we first met him,” she says.

Despite the first impression, the couple decided to take in the feline. Nyx, a musician in Philadelphia, had numerous instruments in her home including a tiny piano that’s good for young children or, in this case, cats to play. It’s also something that caught Winslow’s attention from a young age.

“He was always interested in the piano as a kitten; he would hit the keys and then look under it to see where the sound came from. Once he figured it out, he wasn’t as interested anymore,” she says.

As it happens, Winslow has put on some weight over the years and his vet suggested he needed to lose some of it.

So, rather than continue to free feed him, meaning Nyx would leave a bowl of food for him to go to whenever he was hungry, she switched to meals at a set time and moved the bowl next to the small piano. She also started splitting his treats and snacks into smaller portions, making him play for each – a tactic usually more associated with dogs.

“When the vet suggested that he lose some weight, we decided to use the piano as part of his diet to wean him off of being free fed. Simply placing it next to his bowl had him playing in no time! He plays maybe a dozen times a day, including meal times,” she says.

Finding viral fame

Nyx uploaded a short video of Winslow onto Twitter on Wednesday, August 4. The 26-second clip showed the cat hitting some notes on the miniature piano, seeming to signal that he was ready to eat. It’s garnered almost one million views and more than 87,000 likes since it was posted.

“He is dealing with the fame very well; he loves being filmed and photographed, and he loves all the extra scratches people have been asking me to give him since they can’t pet him themselves,” she says.

As Nyx is a performer, she decided to collaborate on a single with Winslow called Bean Gotta Scream. While not quite the same hit as the viral video, it's still generated interest on and can be streamed on Spotify. So, what's next for the duo?

“Since we already released his debut single, I think more musical collaborations are in our future. I’m a musician and it’s so nice to be able to share the recording process with him. He’s a gifted collaborator,” she says.

Even though Winslow is still on his weight loss journey, he is down from his initial weight of 10 kilograms (22 pounds). Throughout this experience, Nyx says the one of biggest lessons she's learnt is that pet owners really need to focus on what makes their pets happy.

“My advice to any cat owners is to pay attention to what your pet is interested in and enjoys and try to include that in whatever plan you make. One thing that was important to me is that he had a puzzle or activity to keep his mind active,” she says.

“I know cats that don’t have much to do can get depressed, so keeping him engaged and involved in our day to day was a top priority, especially when cutting down his food supply, which obviously upset him.”