Can Cats Hear Dog Whistles?

A Dog Whistle is a well-known device to call back our canine companions, so can the same method be applied to their feline counterparts?

Dog whistles work by emitting high-frequency sounds that humans cannot detect with their limited hearing range. Being that cats tend to have a higher range than most dogs, we can safely say that yes, cats can hear Dog Whistles.

What Is a Dog Whistle and How Does It Work?

Also commonly referred to as a “Silent Whistle” or as “Galton’s Whistle” – Named after the inventor, Francis Galton – Dog whistles emit a high-frequency sound usually falling within the range of 16,000 – 22,000 Hz.

Sounds of this frequency are indiscernible to the human ears that typically hear within a range of 20Hz – 20KHz (20,000Hz). Though infants can often hear slightly higher than 20KHz, it is believed they lose some of that sensitivity as they age, with the average adult range being between 15-17KHz.

What Are Dog Whistles Used For?

With that in mind, it is easy to see why a Dog Whistle is often used when training, with a frequency that will not disturb the human but has the ability to call back their furry companion, many trainers find them to be quite effective, especially when paired with other training tools such as clickers and treats.

Not to mention, that unlike what you see on TV, most of the time, a Dog Whistle will not cause your pet to go crazy, but will be a very simple way to grab their attention when you want it.

The beauty of these “Silent Whistles” is also that you don’t have to buy any physical item, as it works with sound, a free phone app works just as well.

Do Cats Hear Dog Whistles?

So now we know how dog whistles work and why they are used, can cats hear dog whistles? Put quite simply, yes they can. Of everyone we have mentioned so far, cats by far have the most superior range when it comes to hearing, with theirs being at a staggering 20Hz-67KHz (Or 67,000Hz).

This means that it is quite easy for your feline friend to hear the whistle when you use it, but does not necessarily mean that you will gain the same desired effect. Being that they are more sensitive to the sound, your flighty feline may just run for the hills upon hearing the ear-polluition.


Be it a dog or a cat, when it comes to using Dog Whistles, one should always be cautious and use responsibly. Prolonged exposure to the high-pitched frequency of such whistles, can prove detrimental to your pet’s hearing.

Aside from the physical damage overuse can cause, the sudden loud noises – especially in regards to cats, who are known to be prey animals for many other species and therefore have the prey instincts, unlike their canine counterparts who have historically been used as hunters – you will run the risk of increased anxiety and stress that can come with its own myriad of health complications.

It is because of this, that trainers will often overlook Dog Whistles in favor of less damaging training tools, such as clickers or treat rewards.

Final Thoughts

When we think about Dog Whistles and how they work, we can easily see how with their superior range of hearing, a cat can easily hear the sound of a dog whistle, since their range of frequency covers more than that of the animal it is designed for.

But with that being said, Dog Whistles should always be used responsibly and sparingly to reduce the risk of any long-term damage to your pet, especially when in regards to your cat, being that they are more sensitive, and therefore more at risk.

And of course, if you have any concerns over your pet’s hearing or wellbeing, veterinary advice should be sought immediately, as leaving these things for prolonged periods of time will allow the condition to worsen.