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Do Cats Like the Sound of White Noise? What You Need to Know!

It’s not news that cats enjoy their solitude, including peace and quiet. But while loafing on the sofa edge or warm windowsill, there are plenty of external noises that may be disruptive and some that may even cause your cat anxiety, from the sound of neighborhood dogs barking or car horns honking to thunderstorms and fireworks if it’s a festive time.

If your cat experiences anxiety from certain sounds, you may consider using white noise to help the sounds stay more consistent and drown out the ones that may cause your cat to be frightened. However, there are sounds cats generally don’t like but is white noise one of them? In this article, we’ll discuss why a cat may benefit from white noise, which sounds they enjoy, and whether your cat will enjoy the sound of white noise.

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What is White Noise for Cats?

While we are sleeping, our brain doesn’t stop scanning for sounds. You may have experienced it when it is too quiet, and any slight or sudden sound pulls you out of your slumber. Our cats share the same phenomenon, especially because they are natural hunters. They are usually alert and often jolted awake by the slightest sound interrupting their sleep.

White noise can be a sound generated by a machine or other home appliances, such as a fan, tv, or radio, that will create a consistent sound to mask any noise interruptions. Providing white noise for your cat can help drown out any sounds that may cause problems, especially if your cat is left alone at home.

The use of white noise machines for cats is not well-documented. White noise is effective for some humans, so it may make sense to assume that using a white noise machine might reduce noise peaks in the environment for cats.

cat sleeping in loaf position
Image Credit: StockSnap, Pixabay

Are Cats Sensitive to Noise?

Cats have excellent hearing. Because they can hear so well, it means that they are sensitive to noise. How sensitive they are will depend on how and where they were brought up and the level of anxiety they may experience. A nervous cat is more likely to be startled by sudden sounds, or a cat that has lived its whole life on a peaceful ranch may be sensitive to the sounds of the city if they were to change environments.

Cats will generally choose the quietest area of the home and, if given a choice, will always select the quietest location. They hunt by sound, so they naturally want no distractions. They feel safer because the chances of being ambushed are less likely in the quiet, and of course, like humans, sleeping is easier and more enjoyable when there are no disruptions or distractions.

Which Sounds Do Cats Enjoy?

While cats can easily be startled and generally prefer the sound of silence, there are a few sounds that they can tolerate and enjoy.

  • Sounds of other cats
  • Sounds made by prey animals like mice
  • Bags rustling
  • Nature sounds
  • Classical music
  • Their owner’s voice
  • Shaking and rattling
happy cat
Image Credit: islam zarat, Shutterstock

Which Sounds Do Cats Hate?

Most cats are intolerant to loud noises. Noises that may cause anxiety or frighten them include:

  • Sudden, loud noises
  • Alarming sounds at any volume
  • High-frequency sounds
  • Prolonged droning

Sudden loud sounds can include fireworks, thunderstorms, cars backfiring, horns honking, and doors slamming, to name a few possibilities. These sounds usually cause your cat to jump up and run for safety, and it may be impossible for you as a cat owner to control.

Other unsettling sounds may include vacuuming, construction sounds, babies crying, kitchen appliances, and power tools.

Do Cats Like Music?

Music can be a great form of white noise and be soothing and calming.

Many pet owners have found that their cats mostly enjoy classical music or music played at a low volume. Some felines enjoy music, but only if it is intended for them. But what does this mean?

Music explicitly made for cats will include sounds they enjoy and are familiar with, and the tempo is designed to appeal to their senses. Feline music consists of the sounds of birds chirping and cats purring. When scientists put this experiment to the test, the cats responded positively, rubbing themselves against the speaker in an attempt to claim the music as their own.

You can find feline tunes on platforms such as YouTube, Spotify, and Deezer, and it could be an ideal source of white noise and a great way to ease anxiety in your cat.

cat lying near amazon echo smart speaker
Image Credit: Sharomka, Shutterstock

Do Cats Like White Noise?

While cats are more sensitive to sounds, it may be difficult to determine if they enjoy white noise, and each cat may react differently, so you will need to experiment a bit to decide if your cat responds positively to white noise.

If you use a white noise machine for yourself or another family member, pay attention to how your cat reacts. If your cat leaves the area, it may indicate that it is bothered by the sound.

Some cats may be drawn to the sound of white noise because they enjoy routine. Overall, cats prefer a quiet and interrupted environment. They can tolerate some sounds and even become desensitized to some of them, but because they are sensitive to sound, distracting your cat from unsettling noises through white noise may be helpful.

What to Consider When Using a White Noise Machine

If you plan to use a white noise machine for your cat, there are a few things you should take into consideration.

  • Shop around for a sound machine that has multiple settings. Multiple settings will provide variety so that you can find something suitable for your cat.
  • Some white noise machines will include sounds that may upset your cat, such as thunderstorm sounds. You can skip those sounds.
  • Look for a machine with a long battery life if you plan on leaving your cat for long periods.
white noise machine on the bedside table
Image Credit: luca pbl, Shutterstock

How to Keep Your Cat Safe from Loud Noises

If your cat is not responsive to white noise, here are some other tips you can use to help your cat feel safe.

  • Draw the curtains to help muffle the sounds and block out any visuals that accompany thunder or fireworks.
  • Distract your cat with toys and games if you are home with your cat.
  • Create a safe space for your cat. Make sure there is a space for your cat to hide where it doesn’t feel threatened. This will usually be under the bed or in a corner, so make it cozy with a blanket and your cat’s favorite toy.
  • A thunder shirt gently presses against your cat’s chest to help it feel calm, especially if your cat suffers from separation anxiety.
  • CBD oil that is safe for pets can help calm your cat’s anxiety. If you decide to use a CBD product, ensure it’s THC-free and pet-friendly.

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There is not much research to reveal if cats enjoy the sound of white noise, but each cat will respond to it differently. Some cats may enjoy the sound of white noise if it steadily releases sound and blocks other outside noises. Some cats also enjoy classical music or music made specifically for cats. If your house is noisy and you have an anxious cat, white noise may be extremely helpful. Otherwise, it is important to recognize the sounds that affect your cat and make any necessary changes to its environment while providing a safe space for your cat.

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Featured Image Credit: DimaBerlin, Shutterstock