top of page
Stream and mountains

How does music affect animals?

Makenzie Plunkett

I’ve been wondering about this question for a while now and well, I think now’s the time to find out the answer. I’ve chosen 3 main animals (Dogs, cats, and whales) and researched how music affects them.

There’s been evidence that leaving your dog at home with music playing in the background can calm them down and help ease their anxiety. Not only that but there are species-specific frequencies that are designed to help calm your dog down. Quite often, when my family and I are leaving the house for long periods, we leave the radio on for our dog, Koa. Personally, I find that whenever I leave the radio or music on at home, she doesn’t do much. The only ‘music’ she really reacts to is when I say it’s time for her to eat or go out for some walkies. However, research shows that not all dogs react to music the same as others.

My dog, Koa

It may not surprise you to find out that cats don’t have a very big reaction to music. After all, they are known to be those passive pets that sleep a lot (At least, that’s what my cat does…). Despite cats not reacting to music, there is evidence that music designed specifically for cats, does have an effect. After some testing, a large variety of music and a lot of cats, scientists found that cats liked music that had the frequency range and similar tempos to their communication with other animals. In addition to that, they found that younger and older cats reacted to the music more, rather than middle-aged cats.

I researched some music made specifically for cats and tried them out on my cat, Hubble. At most, he sat down and started purring, which actually surprised me. But afterwards, he just stood up and walked away. Besides that, he didn’t do much when listening to the music.

My cat, Hubble, lying in the grass

Now imagine being a whale, peacefully chilling in the ocean, minding your own business, when you hear the loudest HONK you've ever heard. You know it’s from a large ship. You’ve heard them enough times to be sure of it. But how would you react if you heard a nonstop loud noise? Not very well, is my guess.

I’m going to go a little off-topic here and talk about how noise affects whales, noise pollution in particular. Whether you know what noise pollution is, or literally have no clue what I’m talking about, here’s a quick definition: Being exposed to loud noise levels so much it leads to terrible effects for humans, or, in this case, other living organisms. There is evidence that the noise we humans make, whether it be from the honking of loud ships, seismic testing, or military communications using sonar systems, we’re stressing these poor creatures out. Christopher Clark of Cornell University wrote, “It’s so noisy that by human standards whales should be wearing earmuffs to deaden the noise or else go deaf.”

There are a couple of solutions to this issue: Redesign certain ships, place restrictions on places where animals and ocean creatures live and raise awareness of this problem. So, before you go to bed tonight, or the next time you see your friends, spread the word! Let the world know of this problem.

Well, that finishes this article! After doing a lot of research, I’ve learned quite a bit about how music affects animals, and I hope you’ve learned a thing or two as well.

Further Reading:


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page