Do Animals Like Music?

There’s been a lot of debate over whether animals like music or not. Some people say that animals react to music in a similar way that humans do, while others believe that animals don’t really understand the concept of music. So, what’s the truth?

The answer varies. Various animals prefer distinct music genres.

At a Glance: How Animals React to Music

  • Classical music has a calming effect on dogs, likely reducing their stress levels and aggressive behavior when in unfamiliar environments.
  • Slow tempos increase milk production in cows, suggesting that cows are more relaxed and content when listening to soothing melodies.
  • Cats show a preference for music created with their auditory range in mind, engaging more with these compositions than standard human-oriented music.
  • Birds and humans share similar neural responses to music, with certain sounds activating the brain’s reward systems in both species.
  • Listening to music can lead to a lower heart rate in baboons, indicating a universal calming effect of music across different animal species.

Birds, especially known for their affinity towards music, have songs resembling human tunes. Ravens stand out by mimicking human speech and various animal songs, showcasing a behavior known as song mimicry common across many bird species.

Dolphins, like birds, also show a fondness for music, especially when they swim in groups near boats blasting tunes. Observers often feel this makes them seem like they’re dancing in the water. While there’s no scientific evidence to support this, it remains a fascinating concept.

Octopuses have a unique arm muscle that allows them to move rhythmically in water, creating patterns especially when near others. A fascinating study found an octopus mimicking music sounds played close by, showing their surprising love for music.

It’s challenging to determine if animals enjoy music like humans, but several studies shed light on their musical preferences.

Classical music relaxes dogs 

Dogs appreciate music, able to tell apart various genres and beats. A study in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior shows classical music might reduce stress in dogs living in kennels.

Research shows that dogs tend to relax and bark less with classical music, while heavy metal seems to make them more anxious and prone to shaking. Bold judicious use of music can significantly impact a dog’s mood.

Consider playing classical music for your dog during stressful times, such as being alone at home or when there are loud noises outside.

Slow music increases cows’ milk production 

A 2001 study reveals that cows yield more milk when serenaded with REM’s “Everybody Hurts” or Beethoven’s “Pastoral Symphony” rather than tunes like the Beatles’ “Back In The USSR” or Wonderstuff’s “Size of a Cow,” according to researchers at the University of Leicester School of Psychology.

Studies show that slow music reduces stress and relaxes animals, leading to a 3% increase in milk production, which amounts to an extra 0.73 liters per cow.

Interestingly, cows have specific music preferences that significantly influence their milk production.

Cats like music composed specifically for them

Cats enjoy music tailored specifically for them, according to a study in the Applied Animal Behaviour Science Journal. Researchers found that feline-crafted tunes have a unique appeal compared to human-focused melodies.

Studies reveal cats favor music created for them, featuring pitches about 2 octaves higher than human tunes. This special music impacts their behaviors significantly, making them approach, interact with the speaker, and even purr in response to these melodies.

You can search for music made for cats online or on YouTube to check if your cats enjoy it. Discovering what suits their taste could be quite interesting.

Bird and human brains have the same response to music

Bird chirps are delightful, but do birds enjoy music as well? Sarah E. Earp and Donna L. Maney of Emory University explored this by examining the brain activity in male and female white-tailed sparrows listening to male birdsong. Their study sheds light on how these birds react to tunes. Exploring bird reactions to music not only satisfies curiosity but also expands our understanding of animal behavior.

The study shows that as female birds in the breeding state hear male birdsong, a reward system lights up in their brains. This is the same system that buzzes in humans when we enjoy our favorite tunes.

Although we’re unsure if music impacts birds positively due to differing brain structures, it’s clear that music activates a response in them and they react to the tunes they hear.

Music leads to lower heart rate for baboons 

Our closest relatives in the animal kingdom, different primates, share a fascinating connection with us, including a possible appreciation for music. A study explored this by observing the reactions of four baboons in separate cages to radio music, examining both their behavior and physiological changes.

Researchers discovered that baboons had lower heart rates and blood pressure when listening to the radio, showing music’s calming effect on well-being.

We share many commonalities with our close animal relatives, such as baboons, and music is a prime example.