Can Cats Hear Dog Whistles? Interesting Facts…

a cat looking focused

Can cats hear dog whistles? The Answer is a bit shocking. In fact, you might not believe what we’re about to share. But when you know the truth, you can avoid the countless hours of embarrassment and confusion that could’ve been avoided with a few inquiries to your local vet prior to purchasing said device.

Reputable sources, such as the American Humane Association and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, have determined that cats can’t actually hear dog whistles. The sound is too high-pitched.

But cat’s can! And you need to know it! Because if your neighbors’ cats can hear dog whistles, they may start associating you with all those pesky dogs that are constantly barking in their ears.

Can cats hear dog whistles?

There’s a big misconception on the part of most cat owners that cats can hear dog whistles. The truth is, it’s absolutely impossible for them to hear dog whistles. The reason we say this is because various studies have been done, including one which was commissioned in 2003 by the American Humane Association.

They did an independent analysis of two professional whistles and 14 other similar devices with both laboratory and field testing. What they found is that while these devices may be effective in certain situations, they are not sufficient to be relied upon to protect a pet from danger.

The American Humane Association eventually put together a whistle that was engineered to be effective in situations when the dog is present, and will continue to keep them from attacking their owner. With this whistle, the message their pet receives when an attack is imminent and it’s too late for your dog to react is: “The owner is asking you not to attack!”

Various studies have shown that cats can differentiate between up to nine types of calls made by different species of animals. Feral cats have also been known to respond to human voice and noise at close range.

So while it is true that cats can’t hear dog whistles, they can hear you. When used correctly, dog whistles are effective in controlling even the most aggressive of dogs. So what’s the problem?

Are you thinking that it’s because your neighbors’ cats might start to attack you? That may be true. Most cats aren’t inherently vicious, but given the fact that situations like this are hardly unheard of, it’s wise to take precautions.

The solution is to get one of these devices that prevents the cat from associating you with all those pesky dog noises in their ears and promoting an aggressive response. But before purchasing one of these devices, make sure you ask your local vet if a similar device works for dogs and if so, which one.

If you’re thinking about using a dog whistle but you aren’t sure whether or not your cat can hear it, talk to your local vet. They should be able to give you an accurate answer as to whether or not the device will actually work for you and will be safe for both humans and pets.

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Can cats hear high pitched noises like dogs?

A common misconception is that cats can only hear high-pitched noises. Studies show that cats can, in fact, hear a range of sounds several octaves lower than the human ear. In fact, an experiment was conducted on a cat named Snowball which proved beyond any doubt that cats have the capability to hear very high and very low pitches.

The experiment was done by playing a high pitch sound for Snowball and then following it with a low pitch one. The result showed that she responded to both, with the most noticeable reaction being to the higher pitch one.

Cats also demonstrate the ability to hear both higher and lower notes even when it is not close by. Dogs may react to certain noises, and even humans, but cats don’t necessarily understand what it could be about.

For example, one cat in a research study responded to a microwave popping noise by jumping off of a nearby counter and sprinting across the room. And another cat who was given a high pitched sound followed it with something that sounded like a purr (described as “pathetic” by the researchers).

Can cats hear better than dogs?

Cats are also able to hear better than dogs. You may have heard that a dog’s hearing is much better than a cat’s, but in reality, what this means is that dogs can hear some sounds at very high pitches.

What we don’t realize is that dogs actually have a wider range of hearing in the lower pitch region than humans do. So if you were to play a sound for your cat which was too low for humans to hear (like the chirping of crickets or birds), your cat would still be able to hear it, just as she would be able to hear high pitched noises like whistles that humans couldn’t discern.

Similarly, dogs have the ability to hear sounds that humans can’t. Even though they can’t hear extremely low pitched noises, they do have the capacity to hear sounds at higher pitch frequencies than we do. So if a dog could hear human speech, he could understand everything you said to him.

In addition to hearing better than most pets, cats are considered one of the best-hearing species on Earth in terms of their ability to detect high frequency sounds (anything over 20 kHz) with an accuracy of about 40 dB and their ability at low frequencies (below 20 kHz) is greater than 60 dB.

This phenomenon results in an inability to recognize some of the higher frequency sounds utilized by tone-based cat repellent devices such as dog whistles. This means that a cat may not be able to associate the unpleasant sound with your attempt to deter them from crossing a boundary.

Cats can also hear some sounds at a much lower frequency than humans. Sounds that range between 23 kHz and 70 kHz are apparently inaudible to the human ear, but cats can hear them quite well. Any sound below 20 kHz is potentially inaudible to humans, but cats have no trouble discerning these frequencies.

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What do/can cats hear rather than dog whistles?

a dog whistle

For the most part, cats hear both high and low pitched sounds. However, depending on their environment and in what situations they are in, a cat can perceive noises differently than other animals.

For instance, when a doorbell rings, it produces a very high-pitched sound that is definitely within the range of their hearing. But with other types of sounds like their food bowl being rattled or the squeak of a toy, it is unlikely that they will respond to them. The same would hold true if they were sitting next to a dog who was barking at something outside the window.

Cats also have the ability to listen for specific sounds that are important to them by separating out different frequencies from one another. In other words, they can decipher two completely different sounds like a dog can but they don’t necessarily understand the meaning behind it.

One cat in a study was trained to accept a sound that popped every 30 seconds and another learned to recognize the sound of his owner’s footsteps. Cats also use their sense of hearing when communicating with each other.

It is a common misconception that all cats have an identical meow, but in fact each cat’s meow is unique and it’s a method of communication with fellow felines that we humans can’t understand. Since some cats also purr, which is thought to be a way of communicating contentment, there are actually more sounds in the feline language than most believe.

While their best known language is through the use of body language, vocalization and olfactory messages (pheromones), they do have certain vocalizations that they use to communicate. One of these vocalizations is the hiss, which they typically make when they feel threatened or feel like something is not right.

How can cats hear better than dogs?

A cat’s hearing is much more sensitive than a dog’s. While what we think of as high and low frequencies are actually parts of the same range of human hearing, it is still true that humans don’t have the capability to hear even those sounds at their highest pitch.

Cats are able to hear higher frequencies by way of a sophisticated set of bones called the “ossicles.” The ossicles are part of the middle ear and help transfer sound from the outer ear into the inner ear. This allows cats to hear higher pitched sounds that we can’t even begin to fathom in our minds.

Cats also have special organs in their ears that allow them to hear high-frequency sounds. These are called the “taste buds,” and they work like hairs or eardrums to detect sound. The information is then sent to the brain and interpreted.

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Conclusion

For cats being not able to hear dog whistles, they can still hear the sound of high pitched noises, which is why we get confused. A person can easily tell the difference between a cat and a dog since they have different sounds in their language, although sometimes it’s hard to understand what they are saying.

Cats have a very important role in our homes because they are there to keep rats and other undesired animals from getting into your house. If you own pets (pets most of the time) you will notice how your home stays clean from creepy crawlers that can hurt, injure or even kill you if not dealt with correctly.

Cats have incredibly sensitive hearing, which allows them to hear so much greater than we do, but this is only true when the noise is at a frequency that their ears can process. Just because cats are able to hear a sound at one frequency doesn’t mean they will react to it.

On a final note, I will note that cats have three different kinds of ears: a pinna (small), external ear (large), and an inner ear (small). If you are wondering why some cats have more pointed ears than others, this is part of the reason.

cat standing and looking through the window

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