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Mellow that meow? Researchers say this special music can help nervous cats chillax at the vet’s office

A new study says that cats who listen to special cat music at the vet's office are less stressed out.
A new study says that cats who listen to special cat music at the vet's office are less stressed out.Abi Tansley (custom credit)

Researchers say music composed specifically for cats can help them chill out during a visit to the veterinarian.

Twenty cats were played either music designed for cats, silence, or the classical piece “Élégie” by Gabriel Fauré, at each of three examinations at a veterinary clinic two weeks apart, researchers from the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine said.

The cats’ stress levels were monitored — and when the feline music was played, they were pretty cool cats.

“The study has shown that cat-specific music can significantly lower stress-related behaviors in cats visiting the veterinary clinic for wellness examinations. Adding cat-specific music to veterinary offices as environmental enrichment could provide great value to the cat’s welfare in the clinic, to the client’s comfort and confidence in the veterinary team and the veterinary team’s ability to accurately assess the patient,” researchers said in the study published earlier this month in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.

For those who have a cat at home who needs to dial it down a little, here’s the music used on the cats: “Scooter Bere’s Aria” by David Teie.

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The researchers said the use of music in human medicine has led to an increased interest in how music affects animals. Previous research, the study said, has shown that music can be effective at reducing stress and calming animals of other species, such as dogs and tamarins.

The cat-specific music, composed, performed, and produced by Teie, “contains purrs and suckling sounds made to sound like real cats and frequencies similar to cat vocal ranges, which are two octaves higher than human vocal ranges (55–200 Hz) and were found to be pleasing to cats,” researchers said.

The researchers scored the cats’ behavior and their reaction to handlers, finding that they both improved with cat-specific music.

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Researchers looked at a biological marker of stress, too, the neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio. They found it did not improve, but they suggested that the 20-minute listening period may not have allowed enough time for the music to affect the numbers.

The music could ultimately lead to “increasing the quality of care in veterinary clinical settings,” the study said.

“Our results suggest that a cat displaying less anxiety while listening to cat-specific music is more comfortable in its surroundings and is easier to handle. Easier handling can allow veterinarians and staff to conduct better physical examinations and acquire more accurate vitals," the study said.

So the next time you’re at the vet’s office, if you hear some unusual music, remember it might not sound great to you. But it could be “purrfect” for your cat.




Martin finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.