Can Cats Hear a Dog Whistle? A Guide to a Cat's Hearing Range

This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

why do dogs and cats fight?

Can cats hear a dog whistle? Yes, they can, but they may ignore the noise unless they’ve been trained to come when they hear a whistle. Cats can hear frequencies higher than most dogs can. 

Hearing is one of the five senses and is very important to the daily lives of animals as well as humans. It’s a well-known fact that most mammals have sharper hearing than people. But how well do animals hear, and can cats hear a dog whistle?

Dog whistles are also known as silent or Galton’s whistles; they emit noise at very high frequencies that only animals can hear. It’s important to note that cats will only react to a dog whistle if they’re already familiar with the sound. If a cat has never heard a dog whistle before, they’re unlikely to pay any attention to it or may even be scared of the noise.

This article will answer the question, ‘can cats hear a dog whistle?’ We’ll also look at what science says about a cat’s hearing range. 

Can cats hear a dog whistle?

Can cats hear a dog whistle? Yes cats have very good hearing and are able to hear silent dog whistles.

Cats have one of the best hearing ranges of all animals and can hear both high and low frequencies. According to research carried out by the National Library of Medicine, they can hear frequencies of up to 85 kHz (85000 Hertz). 

Cats can hear ultrasonic sound waves produced by a dog whistle. Dog whistles produce high frequencies because they’re above the frequency humans can hear. Cats hearing range is between 48 Hz to 85 kHz, while dogs can hear 40Hz to 60kHz. This means that both dogs and cats are able to hear a dog whistle.

While cats can hear dog whistles, they probably won’t respond to them unless they have been trained using a dog whistle. If you want to train your cat with a dog whistle, you’ll need to pair the sound with positive reinforcement like treats or petting. Only then will your cat associate the sound of the whistle with something pleasant.

While some dog owners still use a dog whistle to train their dogs, clicker training has become more popular in recent years. The benefit of using a dog whistle is that your dog can hear it from long distances, and once your pets are trained, they will come back to you when they hear the whistle. A dog whistle has the advantage over shouting or calling your dog as it can be heard from further away. You also won’t be making a racket and disturbing people as you may be by shouting or using a standard whistle. 

Types of sound

There are three types of sound known as infrasound, audible frequencies, and ultrasound.


Also sometimes called low-status sound, infrasound is below the human hearing range. Infrasonic describe sounds that are between 0.001 and 20Hz. Infrasonic waves are produced by earthquakes and tsunamis. These can be heard or, more accurately, felt by animals hours before the natural disaster occurs. It’s not uncommon for animals to move to higher ground before a tsunami hits. 

Audible frequencies

Audible frequencies describe the human hearing range, which is between 20Hz and 23kHz (23000Hz). 

Ultrasonic sounds

Ultrasound is out with the human hearing range as these sound waves have frequencies that we can’t hear. Most animals, including cats and dogs, can hear ultrasound which gives them an edge when either hunting or avoiding predators.

Cats' hearing range

As cats prey on small animals such as mice and rats that make high-pitched sounds, cats’ hearing has developed and is better than dogs. In order to survive wild cats need to be able to hear ultrasound. Domestic cats still have excellent hearing and an ability to hunt even though they no longer need to for their survival.  

Cats’ ears are also able to pick up sounds from a distance and tell where they are coming from. This helps with hunting and in domestic cats allows pets to know where their owner is when they are calling.

Which other animals can hear a dog whistle?

Many other animals can hear dog whistles, including raccoons, deer, and rabbits. This is because they all have ultrasonic hearing, which allows them to hear frequencies higher than 23 kHz. While these animals may react to a dog whistle if they’re familiar with the sound, they’re unlikely to do so otherwise.

can cats hear a dog whistle?
Can cats hear a dog whistle? Yes cats can hear sound waves that are above 23kHz. Other animals such as mice, rabbits and cows can also hear silent dog whistles.

Here are some of the hearing ranges for pets and wild animals:

  •  Mice 1000Hz to 91,000Hz

  • Rabbit 360 Hz to 42,000Hz

  • Cow 23Hz to 35000Hz

  • Horse 55Hz to 35000Hz

  • Sheep 100Hz to 30,000Hz

  • Elephant 36Hz to 12,000Hz

Do dog whistles affect cats?

Some people believe that dog whistles can affect cats by scaring them or repelling them. However, there’s no scientific evidence to support this claim. In fact, it’s more likely that a cat will ignore a dog whistle if they’ve never heard it before.

Some cats may be scared and run away, which is why some people use ultrasonic devices to scare cats away from their homes or gardens. Likely, a dog whistle or ultrasonic device won’t be 100% effective in scaring cats, as it depends on the individual animal.

Do training whistles work with cats?

Training whistles, which emit ultrasonic sound waves, can be used to train cats. If a cat has been trained to come when they hear a whistle, they’ll likely respond to an ultrasonic whistle as well.

However, it’s important to note that not all cats will react to a training whistle, so it may take some trial and error to find a whistle that works for your cat. To train your cat, you can offer positive reinforcement such as treats, petting, or food. 

You could use a dog whistle to tell your cat that it’s dinner time and time to come home. If you blow a dog whistle when calling your cat, after a week or a few days, your cat will associate the sound with feeding time. The advantage of using a dog whistle rather than calling your cat is that you won’t be disturbing your neighbors. Most people find that a dog whistle isn’t even necessary; shaking a box of cat food will most likely be enough to bring your pet home.

If you come home from work at the same time every day, you’ll probably find that your cat will be waiting for you after a while. Cats seem to have a good sense of time.

Related Article: New Kitten Checklist

Are dog whistles silent to humans?

Dog whistles are silent to humans. This is because they emit ultrasonic sound waves, which are too high-pitched for humans to hear. Humans have a hearing range of between 20Hz and 23kHz. Since dog whistles produces a sound that’s above 23kHz, the noise can’t be detected by the human ear.

Sometimes you’ll be able to hear a quiet noise or a hissing noise when a dog whistle is blown. This is most likely the sound of air passing through the dog whistle rather than the noise of the whistle itself. 

  •  Most dog whistles make a noise that’s 23 to 54 kHz, too high for a human to hear.

  • Dog whistles produce ultrasonic waves that humans aren’t able to hear. 

  • Dogs and cats can hear dog whistles.

Who invented dog whistles?

Dog whistles are versatile tools that has been used for centuries. There are many different stories about who invented the dog whistle, but there is no definitive answer. While the origin of the dog whistle is unknown, it is believed to have been invented in the 1800s. 

Some people believe that dog whistles were developed by a man named Joe Walton, while others believe that it was invented by Francis Galton. Galton became famous for his work on sound frequencies and measured the sound range that different animals can hear. In 1876 he invented a device that could emit ultrasonic waves that only animals could hear.

Can cats hear a dog whistle?: Final thoughts

So, can cats hear a dog whistle? Yes, they can, but they won’t respond in the same way as a dog will unless they have been trained to respond to a dog whistle. Most cats aren’t familiar with the sound and will probably ignore the whistle. 

If you want to use a dog whistle to train your cat, be sure to pair it with positive reinforcement. Otherwise, your cat is likely to ignore the sound completely. Silent dog whistles work well for calling your cat home if you don’t want to disturb your neighbors.

You may also like: Can Cats Eat Dog Food in an Emergency?

If you enjoyed this article, share it with your friends!

Recent cat care articles