Dear 100 Hour Board,
Can music affect an animal's mood? I'm not talking like heavy metal and whether or not that scares them, but does classical music calm them? Also, do animals have the capability to recognize certain songs (specifically cats)?
There is some evidence that certain music can help to calm animals. A few studies that I found on the BYU library database demonstrate the calming effect classical music can have on mice, cows, and hens.
I wasn't able to find any hard-and-fast evidence on whether animals can recognize certain songs, and I don't have any pets I could do my own testing on. This study indicates that some monkeys can identify rhythmic patterns, though. That's...kinda the same thing. Kinda.
On a slightly related note, you might find this article interesting. A professional cellist and a psychologist paired up to create "species-specific music" for tamarin monkeys, using the frequencies found in their calls. One composition mimicked the pitch patterns found in the monkeys' distress call, and the other imitated their "all's well" call. When each composition was played, the monkeys demonstrated the emotional response the composition was designed to elicit (distress or calmness). Pretty neat, huh?