Playing "cat-specific music" may reduce feline's stress during vet visits

Washington: Playing special music tailored for cats may help reduce the feline's stress levels during a visit to the veterinary clinic, according to a study which may lead to new ways of helping the furry friends remain calm during medical check-ups and procedures.

The study, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, noted that the use of music has become increasingly popular in human medicine, with benefits including the reduction of anxiety associated with medical examinations, diagnostic procedures, and surgery. According to the researchers, including those from Louisiana State University in the US, cats under general anaesthesia remain physiologically responsive to music.

They said the felines appear to be in a more relaxed state when played classical music, compared with pop and heavy metal. In the current study, the scientists analysed the impact of different types of music on cats, particularly exploring the calming effects of music composed specifically for the felines.

The study noted that musical pieces that are considered pleasing to the human ear often have a beat similar to the human resting pulse rate -- which is generally between 60 and 100 beats per minute for adults -- and contains frequencies from the human vocal range. Extending this principle to cat-specific music, the scientists composed lines based on cat-associated vocalisations like purring and suckling sounds, as well as frequencies similar to the feline vocal range.

To assess this hypothesis, they enrolled 20 pet cats and played 20 minutes of the cat-specific music Scooter Bere's Aria by David Teie, classical music (Elegie by Faure), or silence in a random order at each of three physical examinations at the veterinary clinic, two weeks apart, according to the study.

According to the study, the cats appeared to be less stressed during the examination -- as indicated by lower cat stress scores and handling scale scores -- when played the cat-specific music, compared with both classical music and no music. However, the scientists said this effect was not reflected in the ratio of their neutrophil and lymphocyte levels.

According to the researchers, cat-specific music may not only have benefits in terms of the welfare of the cat, but owners may feel reassured that their cat will have a more comfortable visit to the veterinarian.

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