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Do Dogs and Cats Like It if You Leave the Radio or TV on When You Leave the House?

Do Dogs and Cats Like It if You Leave the Radio or TV on When You Leave the House?

A survey of about 2000 British dog owners
conducted in early 2017 found that around 40% of dog owners admitted to leaving the
radio on when they left the house so that their dog wouldn’t be lonely, while another
32% admitted that they did the same thing, just with the TV. In yet another British study, this time in
2015, it was found that 38% of those respondents left the radio on and 22% the TV. Whichever study you look at there, this practice
is shockingly common, at least in Britain. But do your pets like this? Starting with our canine counterparts, while
the research we have thus far isn’t exactly robust, it would appear that, at least in
the case of music, yes, in some cases dogs do respond to this in a positive way. For example, consider the results of research
conducted in 2002 by psychologist Deborah Wells from Queen’s University in Belfast. In a nutshell, Wells’ study involved randomly
playing music through some speakers for a group of about 50 dogs at a re-homing shelter
in the UK and noting what, if any, effect it had on the them. After a baseline reaction was found by observing
the behaviour of the dogs when no music at all was playing, researchers then played one
of three CDs- for those unfamiliar, a kind of round shiny object people used to store
music and other data on, often used for playing music in their hitched up covered wagons. Each CD contained a curated playlist limited
to a specific genre, in this case, pop, classical and heavy metal. Finally, a fourth CD contained the sounds
of a human conversation. So what were the results? The study found that classical music appeared
to have a definite calming effect on the dogs with there being a noticeable decrease in
the amount of noise and activity, and an increased number of dogs choosing to simply lay down,
compared to when there was either complete silence or the sounds of human conversation
piped into the room. On that latter point, it is interesting to
note that the human speech didn’t seem to make any difference to the dogs. Meanwhile, music by the heavy metal band Metallica
seemed to agitate the dogs present. Finally, pop music, which included the likes
of Brittney Spears, much like the sounds of human conversations, appeared to have no observable
effect on the animals. Moving on to a study in 2017 conducted at
a shelter operated by the Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, the
researchers attached heart monitors to the dogs to attempt to better determine the effect
the music was having on them on top of just visual observation. The results? Professor Neil Evans of the University of
Glasgow notes, “Overall, the response to different genres was mixed highlighting the possibility
that like humans, our canine friends have their own individual music preferences. That being said, reggae music and soft rock
showed the highest positive changes…” However, beyond potential personal preference,
there may actually be something else going on here that is significant in helping to
determine which types of music and sounds a given type of dog will like or not. To see why, let’s now look at cats. While the studies are limited to date, the
data so far seems to indicate that cats do not respond to music nearly as well as dogs…
at least at first glance. An important thing to remember here is that
cats’ hearing spectrum is different than a human. Further, it turns out what frequencies their
brains are more tuned to pay attention to are also in a different range. Thus, given both of these things, what they
consciously hear when they listen to our music is different than what we hear. Given this and other animal studies that have
shown animals tend to respond more to sounds within their own vocal range, researchers
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, led by psychology professor Charles Snowdon, decided
to see what would happen if they made “cat music”- essentially music that was tuned to
center in the frequency ranges and tempos cats pay most attention to. In this case, as cats’ vocal range is about
one octave higher than a human’s, they had composer Professor David Teie create music
in this range. As for tempo, they went with approximately
the average rate a cat purrs at, as well as a separate piece of cat music with a tempo
equivalent to that of a kitten suckling. And, it turns out, when playing this music
to 47 cats in the study compared to playing two different classical music pieces, the
cats did indeed react significantly more positively and pay more attention to the cat music, whereas
the human classical music garnered fewer positive responses and reactions, and even those that
did react positively to this music took approximately an additional minute to seem to notice it
at all. As for the cat music, while not every cat
responded, the ones that did tended towards a positive response in the form of purring
and sometimes even rubbing up against the speaker playing the music. This may also help explain why it takes so
much longer to train a cat to obey verbal commands, even when offering a food reward. For example, consider a study done in 1915
at the University of Colorado which seemed to show that cats were colorblind. In it, the experimenters had one jar wrapped
in gray paper, and another in color paper. If the cat touched the colored jar, they’d
get a tiny fish as a reward. 18 months and 100,000 tries later, the cats
used in the study had only been 50% successful at picking the right jar the first time. Clearly they couldn’t see color, right? Wrong. Given cats have both cones and rods, further
experiments have been done in more modern times using electrodes monitoring the cat’s
brain, definitively proving cats can see colors. So why couldn’t they figure out which jar
to pick to get the treat they wanted? While you might think just to screw with the
researchers- cats gonna’ cat- it turns out that even though they can distinguish a variety
of shades of color, their brains just aren’t really wired to pay attention to colors, though
if one spent enough time training a specific cat, you can get them to do so. It just takes an astounding amount of training
before the color registers consciously. For example, the aforementioned “fish” experiment
was re-done in the 1960s, and this time it was found that if working with an individual
cat long and consistently enough, they would learn to pay attention to the color, but it
took a whopping average of 1550 tries per cat for them to learn to pick the colored
jar. Once they did, they consistently picked it
as they did indeed want the treat inside. Going back to sounds, this may be why, as
any cat owner knows, if you call your cat using super high pitched vocalizations spoken
rapidly like “kitty-kitty-kitty-kitty” cats tend to come more quickly than if saying the
exact same thing just speaking in normal tones and speeds where they may not respond at all. Thus, while studies would need conducted to
test the hypothesis, it may be when talking about verbal commands that perhaps cats aren’t
just being dicks as they appear, but rather, you’re not speaking in tones and at tempos
their brains naturally consciously pay attention to without significant training. Whatever the case, going back to dogs, it’s
hypothesized by the researchers of the University of Wisconsin-Madison study that this may be
why different dogs respond slightly differently to different types of human music given that
different breeds of dog have different vocal frequency ranges and resting heart rates. If your curious, breeds like the Labrador
have some of the closets vocal ranges and heart rates to humans, with our music likewise
generally centered around our vocal ranges and the tempo of our heart rate. On a similar note, a 2010 study, also done
by Professor Snowdon studying cotton-top tamarin monkeys, whose heart rates are approximately
twice a typical humans and vocalizations roughly three octaves higher, likewise found that
music centered around these frequencies and tempos seemed to appeal to the tamarin monkeys,
both in its ability to agitate the monkeys and to calm them, depending on the composed
pieces of music. Further, the tamarin monkeys had no such responses
to human music played for them. Moving on to leaving a TV show on for your
pet, the hypothesis is that familiar background noises, particularly human speech, will sooth
your furry companion. However, the data on whether this actually
works or not isn’t robust enough to mention, and it is noted in the aforementioned music
study that playing sounds of human conversation appeared to have no effect on the dogs compared
to silence. Of course, if one played a recording of a
dog’s master talking, this might change the results, but no study to date we could find
has ever tested this hypothesis. That said, for anyone who has ever used a
web cam with a speaker to talk to their pets while away from home knows, the animals most
definitely respond to this speech, though whether this is enjoyable for them or a big
confusing tease is anyone’s guess. On another anecdotal note, in areas where
significant outside noises seem to stress a given dog, causing a lot of barking and
the like, many owners claim that drowning out this noise with TV, radio, or a noise
maker seems to help keep the animals more calm. As for cats and TV, there doesn’t seem to
be any real data here either. But we’re just going to go with the age-old
“Cat’s don’t care” as that seems to apply to our feline friends at least 99.99% of the
time, particularly as in this case what is being shown on TV is not typically within
the vocal ranges and tempos of speech that cats otherwise respond to anyway. Cats also, of course, don’t typically suffer
from separation anxiety to the extent that dogs often do, further perhaps making this
not matter. But to conclude, while the data to date is
limited, it does at least so far seem to be pointing to your furry forced friend enjoying
it when you leave some music on for them, though for best results you need to tailor
the music to the animals, with cats responding best to specially made cat music. And if you’re now wondering- yes, this does,
in fact, exist for sale online. This is thanks to the aforementioned composer
Professor David Teie. Since the cat study he took part in and a
subsequent Kickstarter where he raised an astounding quarter of a million dollars despite
a massively more modest initial goal, he has gone ahead and composed a cat music album
for sale online, technically making him the biggest musical star in the world to our feline

100 comments on “Do Dogs and Cats Like It if You Leave the Radio or TV on When You Leave the House?

  1. Thanks to Dashlane for supporting this show. Get 10% off with the coupon code "todayifoundout":

  2. You could, you know, just get another dog to keep the two in company.
    Dogs are pack animals and need constant companionship.

  3. 9:45 My cats love when I put on "Birds chirping for cats" on YouTube. They will stare, meow and knock over the small 24 inch TV trying to get the birds.

  4. 7:45 one more thing when I call my cats I yell out loud throughout the house "SWEET BABBBYYYY" in a really high pitched voice. Also my cat Ellis stares at my gf and meows whenever she sings.

  5. So the cat's partied hard… you must have not known earlier when one of the cats was handing out these little bitty pill things he was calling them mescaline.

  6. Perfect cat traps:
    1- Cardboard box
    2- Taped square on the floor
    3- A chair right before you are about to sit in it
    4- A chair after you sit on it
    5- Laundry basket
    6- Your lap whenever you sit down
    7- Your lap when just before you needed to get up
    8- Paper bag on it's side (once they encounter a wall)
    9- Top of old-school CRT television
    10- Any laptop/keyboard in use

  7. It always amuses me that these so-called scientists have a strong bias against Country music. None of the studies even mentioned it.

  8. You need to seal the dog in a room and blast it with louder and louder music, until it's internal membranes pop out and it decomposes while liquifying.

  9. My dog responds to dogs barking on tv. Whether happy play barking or angry snarling, he hears it, looks around, and seems to like it.

  10. Am I the only one concerned that these people think Metallica is actually heavy enough to be classified as heavy metal? It's hard rock at best. I'm not saying Metallica is bad or anything but that they just ain't all that heavy.

  11. Britney Spears CD in 2019

    … Has no observable effects on dogs.

    Same Britney Spears CD in 1999

    … Fools entire generation of idiots into believing it's actually music.

  12. My cat, Felix loved Jazz. He even watched all of Ken Burns' documentary on Jazz with me. I didn't even have to call him. As soon as the PBS music started playing, he'd come running up the stairs and hop on the couch. He watched the whole thing and then would leave when it was over. He was also crazy about Annie Lennox. If I put her CD on, he was right there. For an experiment one time, I changed the CD to some 70s rock and roll. He gave me an nasty look and walked off, obviously miffed at me for changing Annie Lennox for the Beatles!

  13. Did the researchers correct for bias by having the dog observers be deaf? In other words, if the observers heard the music, did it impact their perceptions of what the dogs were doing? By using deaf observers, you could double-blind the observations so the observers would have no idea what music the dogs were listening to.

  14. What a hilarious presentation!!! Well done! My dog acts like he's responding to a hypnotic suggestion every time a 15 hour doggy playlist, that starts out with a single pan flute playing, comes on! I turn that on and wherever he is in the house, he immediately goes to his bed and goes to sleep! I have to admit that it puts me to sleep too! It's a win-win. We both get to sleep even tho the dogs in the neighbourhood bark constantly every night.

  15. I put on an 8 hour you tube video of birds and squirrels for my cat. See seems to like it. She makes that weird cat squawking noise. Is that good?

  16. I used to clean for a woman who left Animal Planet on, she had a power hit one week and panicked on the phone with my boss and begged us to make sure we put it back on for the dogs if her electric was back on. It was super sweet but I'm sad to see it was pointless.

  17. When l leave the house,tv is left on. The dish washer is put on but my washing machine is on a timer,so if I'm delayed. Cause l know of my household of mine 5 + 1,would never think of doing it but l live in hope the,60,23,21,16 who should be in school but hey l am 1 going out paying the Bill's and making sure there is foodin the home.l am the hunter and gather. Or just felmale

  18. I have a security camera in the living room.
    It seams that my dog has been inviting his friends I we for parties. And these parties end up turning into orgies. I always wondered why he always looked at me with a glint in his eyes.
    P.S. Even the cats joined in.

  19. My dog can't stand to see a dog on TV. She goes into a barking fit and gets jealous. There is 1 commercial that induces anxiety really bad. Even TV shows that may show a dog on it will send her into a fit. Funny she doesn't care for those sad Dog commercials but show her a flea one… Been trying to show her videos with dogs to desensitize her but doesn't work. Can't understand how to get her to stop being so insecure. She does have a sister. Which at times makes her so jealous can't pet her either.

  20. I think it can help IF your dog is the sort to like to lay at your feet or next to you on the couch while you watch tv. If they get use to that, than I imagine them laying on the couch while you are gone, with the tv on can be in some way comforting. Or you know, don't do it. They probably will just a happy nap either way, and be overjoyed when you get home regardless.

  21. Apparently, mountain lions don’t like β€œDon’t Tread On Me” by Metallica. A Canadian woman scared one off that was following her by playing it on a loop! In the past, I’ve used hard rock to convince raccoons to move out of places they didn’t belong. Wild animals generally don’t care for the sound of pounding drums, growling guitars, and aggressive sounding human males.

  22. My friend used to leave his tv on, for his dog, when he left for work. On a side note, there are probably some millenials who think that CD's were actually around when 'covered wagons' were around. πŸ™‚

  23. Was surprised there was no mention of the cat/dog vid's online that where tailored for this specific purpose using sites and sounds on the tv.

  24. I had a dog, Rottweiler and Shepherd mix that hated Baby One More Time by Britney Spears. As soon as she heard the start she would leave the room or if in the car or something where she couldn't leave she would get very agitated. Even the same reaction if I had headphones on. I never saw her react to any other song at all but it never failed with Baby One More Time.

  25. Has anyone controlled for whether the music played was consistent with what the owner plays? I suspect that the mixed response could be indicative of conditioning based on owner preference.

  26. If a cat has the ability to get outside whilst your slaving away trying to put can food in his bowl. Your cat will be much more happier than a cat CD

  27. I'm surprised that they didn't think to use sounds of nature for testing, such as birds chirping, wind, rustling leaves, rain, frogs, crickets, etc. Now we could just use an online source for those sounds, such as and of course YouTube relaxation videos.

  28. my two cat brothers Nizidramanii'yt and Firkraag seem to like Jinjer, Disturbed, Alien Weaponry and Gloryhammer to name a few, whenever i play these they will come over from where ever it was they was sleeping before, most commonly a kitchen chair, the bathroom sink or the kitchen sink, they come over withing a few seconds up to a minute or two then they lie down either in the sofa, my lap, or just sit not far from the speakers with a relaxed expression, blinking slowly and purring.

  29. In another study scientists found that dogs who had previously enjoyed classical music by artists like Bach and Beethoven became despondent and uninterested in anything after being exposed to Nickelback for more than a few minutes.

    Yet another study found that cats who suspect that their human knows what kind of music they like, change what music it is that they like.

  30. I keep the radio and TV off when I leave. No way of knowing if something will come across that will if anything that will disturb the critters will come across. Nothing here scientifically, for me to change my practicec.

  31. For the record "monitoring the dark web", is a bald faced lie based on the average person knowing almost nothing about how all that works.

  32. I usually leave a loud playing Sex Pistol CD on repeat!
    The dog is so calm when I come home and switch it off.
    No walk, no food, just sleeping.

  33. It's David Teie. I went to Amazon and streamed this. My cat came straight to the computer and rubbed all over. He's fascinated. So I'm getting it for him. T y, Simon.

  34. I have a cat that will only watched tv if sharks are on. He will get up and try to look into the screen to see where they went. Didnt do it with anything else. He does like fish tanks though.

  35. You can kitty kitty kitty till the cows come but in my house my cats come by name. I guess thats why someone invented names.

  36. I've trained my cat to respond me snapping my fingers. Two snaps means come to bed, three snaps means it's time to eat.

  37. was dog sitting for my cousins dog when i had to run out to the food store. I left animal planet on the big screen tv while I was out. When I returned i found the whole living room torn apart. Pillows on the floor, plant knocked over etc. It turns out that it was big cats day on animal planet and it must have freaked out the dog. LOL

  38. I'm beginning to think that Simon has hacked my computer or smart devices because this is the 3rd time in a month that the exact, random curiosity question raised by myself or family while hanging out was quickly covered on this channel within days. Coincidence? Mind reading? Simon Taking Over The World? I'm not ruling anything out.

  39. All that cats need to be entertained/distracted is Cat TV; aka, a window. This is Jackson Galaxy approved so give it a try! All some dogs need is another dog (as long as they can get along, of course).

  40. My cats hate when I play a harmonica. They try to bitch slap it from my face! I've noticed they like certain types of whistling.

  41. My cat knows how turn on my phone and turn on YouTube. He paws the screen till he find a voice he likes, it doesn't matter to what video it is, it's the person's voice. He'll then sit and listen to them. My brother had told me he saw him sitting next to my phone listening to videos while I was taking a nap, he thought I put them on for him. I didn't believe him at first. I then caught my cat a couple months later in the act when I came in the room from a shower. I since learned he doesn't like the house being silent. If it's too quiet and my phone is set down, he'll paw it till videos come on.

  42. I don't know about leaving something on for my cats. But I do know my Harlequin really liked watching YouTube videos of birds that are filmed for cats. She only looked behind my tablet a couple of times for the birds. Then she settled down to watch them for at least half an hour. It was funny how her head turned to follow a bird to the screen edge. Before returning to the other birds.

  43. I already know they like it, at least cats do. First off, the noise gets rid of that scary-darkness noise. No one likes to sit in silence, you start "hearing things". Same for cats. Some noise is preferred. My cats really prefer TV with a lot of people talking, OR a SINGLE person talking (let's plays on YouTube with 6+ people are preferred, but they also like monotone Discovery channel shows).

  44. Bonus fact: Studies have shown that cetaceans and members of chondricthyes appear to enjoy classical music as exhibited by their calmed behavior when the music is piped in underwater.
    These studies by design or accident also showed that energetic music like hard rock appeared to agitate them. What is interesting is that sharks and whales are so evolutionarily removed from each other and yet showed the same response of agitation. However, whereas whales will leave the area; sharks show aggressive behavior and are attracted to the area.
    So, being that you don't want to agitate a shark it's best you don't have gothic or other hard rock playing in the vicinity.
    It has also been shown that sharks are attracted from a distance upon hearing explosions. This is probably engrained in them over the millenia of being attracted to the sound of volcanic activity wherein fish would be in shock and therefore easy prey.
    So, being that hard rock, punk, gothic, et al are so loud; this is probably what agitates and attracts the sharks.🦈

  45. This video has eerie timing for me. I watched a couple videos on cats yesterday, and now this popped up in my feed.

    I swear technology's getting to be too good now.

    As for my cat, he just stares at things, tackles nothing, then haul's ass into the kitchen the second I open a door, or a can. But if I want him to come by to pet him, he just looks at me like I'm dumb.

  46. My dog is a Boxer-lab mix and he always gathers when I play bass but ignores me when I practice guitar. Maybe the Boxer in him enjoys a lower tone. He seems to enjoy Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Black Sabbath, and Clutch, they don't seem related to us humans but maybe to him he hears the low tones and thinks they're just right.

  47. "Cats don't get separation anxiety"

    Tell that to my little house panther who sits and screams outside of any door that separates him and his humans. And yes, this includes the bathroom door. All showers are followed by a solid 10 minutes of complaints from our cat.

    Likewise, he always wants to be in the same room as everyone else, and if one of us (me or my boyfriend) goes to bed without the other the cat will come out and give the person who is still awake shit for not coming to bed.

    Mr. Moo has string opinions, and you will hear ALL OF THEM.

  48. Oh, cats care what's on TV. Probably not for the mundane stuff we humans like, though. But if you put on a nature show with birds chirping they pay VERY close attention.

  49. We've had cats and dogs. None of them paid attention to the TV. Well, they might pay slight attention if there is something like a dog barking on on the TV. For a few seconds.

    Our boa likes to watch TV. He will sit on my lap and watch it.

  50. So Cats are not aresholes, they just choose not to pay attention to anything we say and act like "You wanna talk to mean? learn my language first peasant".

  51. F dashlane. Did they demand the ad be placed in the beginning? I assume so. I'll never use dashlane. F dashlane. πŸ™‚

  52. My experience with cats is that although their hearing is acute it appears that their most intense focus involves their sight. I once had a tomcat that loved TV……..especially wild life shows. While asleep in bed one night I heard the TV come on. I took my shotgun with me downstairs thinking it was an intruder. Instead I found my cat had figured out the remote to not only turn the TV on but to change the channels to wildlife stations.
    As I reached for the remote to turn the TV off, the cat hissed and growled and sank its claws into my hand. Several times over the years the cat would turn on the TV and put on wildlife shows. I just let him be.
    I have to say that cat did spook me. I often thought he was possessed or at least a reincarnated person. (He also must have thought he was a dog with all the fetching he would do. He didn't like the outdoors but if you took a pair of rolled up socks and toss them far out into the yard he'd glance around and then make a beeline for the socks and bring them back).
    Alas, when he eventually started fearlessly going outside he met his demise from a German shepherd. (Maybe after watching all those wildlife shows he was convinced he was an invincible tiger).πŸ…

  53. I've always left a TV or radio on for mine . They're so used to the noise of a TV when I'm home that I figure it would seem more normal to them .

  54. For the cat to notice or pay attention to an object, more important than color is the price and fragility of the object.

  55. My rabbit seems to love pop/kpop music, and also indie. She always jumps up on my bed and lays next to me when I'm listening to such music. She's the sweetest bunny :((

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