Anyone with normal hearing can recognize that a sequence of notes is the same whether it’s in the key of A flat or F, and of course, can differentiate between the musical tones in a scale. We as humans, hold this ability for granted. But the question is, do dogs and cats enjoy music? Here’s the short answer: our pets do enjoy music. Science has officially determined our furry friends have an ear for music.
Surely, we are not the only ones with rhythm. According to Vet Babble, a larger dog may have more similar music preferences to that of humans. This is because their heart rate is closer to the human heart rate. A dog in smaller size may love different music entirely due to his faster heart rate.
Cats, however, would most likely not share our music preferences based on this principle. In a 2017 study published by The Journal of Emerging Investigators, researchers had discovered that exposure to rock and rap music may increase a dog’s heart rate, while exposure to jazz music may decrease a dog’s heart rate. Different genres of music seems to have different effects on dogs.
So do dogs and cats like music? The answer is, the kind of music that dogs and cats listen to made a difference. Charles Snowdon, an animal psychologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison had discovered that animals enjoy “species-specific music”. With heart rates and vocal ranges very different from ours, the animal psychologist believes that animals simply aren’t wired to understand songs tailored for our ears. Therefore, he has been working to compose music that is tailored to suit animals.
To prove his theory, Snowdon has developed music that contains tempos and frequencies similar to the ones felines use to communicate. He went to 47 households with felines and played them music, including two classical songs and two songs written exclusively for cats. When the cat music started up, a positive response was noted: the cats became excited and started approaching the speakers, rubbing up against them, purring and sniffing. Here’s a sample specially composed for your feline friend.
Demand for species-specific music is growing, but some research studies also prove that dogs react to human music. The first study looked at shelter dogs and reported that dogs barked more with heavy rock versus classical music. They seemed to enjoy music that had less complexity, and with slower tempo. There is also some evidence to suggest that harp music can reduce heart rate and respiration rate as well as promote smoother recoveries – the same holds true for animals including dogs!