The perfect music to relax and calm cats

Taking a cat to the vet can be a stressful, even traumatic, experience for the pet as well as the owner. Today, we highlight a study published in the JFMS (Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery), having shown that making the cat listen to a specific type of music during the visit can help it to be less stressful.

The use of music has become increasingly popular in human medicine, with numerous studies showing a range of benefits, ranging from improved motor and cognitive function in stroke patients, to reduction of anxiety associated with medical examinations, diagnostic procedures and surgery. Now there is evidence to show that the benefits of music are also seen in cats and other animals.

Research published previously in the JFMS had already indicated that cats, under the effect of general anesthesia, remain physiologically sensitive to music: in addition, they seem to be in a more relaxed state when they hear so. classical music, compared to pop or heavy metal.

Relaxing your cat and reducing anxiety with music is possible

In this latest study, researchers from Louisiana State University (LSU) in the United States took the analysis of the impact of different types of music a step further, exploring the calming effects of composed music. specifically for cats.

It should be noted that the compositions considered to be pleasant to the human ear often have a rhythm similar to the frequency of the human pulse at rest and often contain frequencies of the human vocal range.

Therefore, the researchers based themselves on this principle to create music specifically pleasant for cats, composed of vocalizations of affiliated cats (such as purring and nursing sounds), as well as frequencies similar to the vocal range. feline (two octaves above that of humans).

Then, in order to assess the effects of music specific to cats, 20 company specimens enrolled in the LSU study listened to it for 20 minutes:

The researchers also played classical music (“Elegy”, from Fauré), or no music (silence) in a random order. All of these tests were carried out each time during a visit to the veterinarian, two weeks apart.

They thus assigned “stress scores” to cats, based on their behavior and posture, as well as “average treatment scale scores” (based on cats' reactions to actions performed by their owner). These scores were assigned from video recordings of the exams. The neutrophil / lymphocyte ratios of the blood samples were also measured to look for a response to physiological stress.

Positive results

The study found that cats appeared to be less stressed during the examination (as indicated by stress scores and average treatment scale scores for cats) when they could hear cat-specific music, compared to to classical music and the absence of music.

This effect was not reflected in the neutrophil / lymphocyte ratio, but scientists suggest that 20 minutes may not have been enough to affect this measurement.

By lowering stress levels, researchers conclude that music specially designed for cats can not only have benefits for the well-being of the cat, but also that it would reassure owners during a visit to the veterinarian, allowing their animal to live a less unpleasant experience.

Do you have one or more cats? Do not hesitate to make them listen to this extract and write to us explaining his reaction!


Effects of music on behavior and physiological stress response of domestic cats in a veterinary clinic

Amanda Hampton, Alexandra Ford, Roy E Cox, III, Chin-chi Liu, Ronald Koh

First Published February 12, 2019

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