The right music can soothe your savage beast, err cat

Cat compositions could make for a more relaxing visit to the veterinarian, scientists discover.

Bonnie Burton
Journalist Bonnie Burton writes about movies, TV shows, comics, science and robots. She is the author of the books Live or Die: Survival Hacks, Wizarding World: Movie Magic Amazing Artifacts, The Star Wars Craft Book, Girls Against Girls, Draw Star Wars, Planets in Peril and more! E-mail Bonnie.
Bonnie Burton
2 min read

This cat looks pretty calm already.

Amanda Kooser/CNET

Next time your beloved kitty is antsy about visiting the veterinarian, consider playing music composed just for cats. Louisiana State University researchers have found that playing music specially made just for cats can help calm their nerves while going through the stressful vet visit.

Previously, researchers determined that cats stay calmer when listening to classical music, as opposed to pop and heavy metal. But more recent research published in this month's issue of Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery showed that cats may relax even more when listening to music made with them in mind.

The feline-specific music selected for use in the study was Scooter Bere's Aria, composed, performed and produced by David Teie and sold by Universal Records UK. The unusual music was composed using cat vocalizations and frequencies similar to the feline vocal range that are two octaves higher than for humans (55–200 Hz).

"The thought and musical design behind composing cat-specific music was based on the idea that the development of the emotional centers in the brain of the cat occur shortly after birth, during the nursing stage," the study states. "Because purring and suckling sounds are common in this developmental stage, these sounds are layered into tempos and frequencies used in feline vocalization to create cat specific music."

The objective of the study was to determine if feline-specific music played in a veterinary clinical setting would promote lower cat stress scores (CSSs), lower mean handling scale scores (HSs) and reduced neutrophil:lymphocyte ratios (NLRs) in cats during physical examinations. NLRs are used as a markers to determine inflammation.

The cats were exposed to one of three audio tests (silence, classical music and cat-specific music) during three veterinary physical examinations two weeks apart. 

CSSs were recorded before, during and after the examination period. The HSs were recorded at the physical examination period. Physiological stress was assessed via NLRs. 

The results showed that CSSs and HSs were both significantly lower in cats listening to cat music vs silence or classical music. The NLRs showed no significant changes. 

"We conclude that cat-specific music may benefit cats by decreasing the stress levels and increasing the quality of care in veterinary clinical settings," the researchers wrote in the study.

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