August 7, 2018
Categories: Shelter Medicine
cat at piano

Cats, it turns out, really like classical music. And when veterinarians played Samuel Barber’s “Adagio for Strings (Opus 11)” while cats were being spayed, the feline patients were less stressed out than when listening to other types of music, or no music at all.

In what might be unwelcome news for rock fans, the cats were the most stressed when listening to AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” They were a little less stressed by the strains of pop singer Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn.”

The researchers were specifically looking at respiratory rate and pupil diameter, both of which were reduced while classical music was playing. This effect meant that a lower dose of anesthetic could be used, reducing side effects and improving the safety of the cats during and after surgery.

“Considering the side effects of anesthetics on respiration, it is important to search for new approaches to the anesthetized patient, with the aim of reducing the anesthetic dose,” the authors wrote.

Since classical music has also been shown to reduce signs of stress in humans, and playing music during surgery carries little or no cost, spay/neuter clinics might want to consider adding the smooth sounds of “Adagio for Strings” to their surgical routine.

Mira F, Costa A, Mendes E, Azevedo P and Carreira LM. Influence of music and its genres on respiratory rate and pupil diameter variations in cats under general anaesthesia: contribution to promoting patient safety.  Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery. DOI: 10.1177/1098612X15575778