Classical music is purrfect for cats. Handel is best!

Music of handel is best for cats
Music of Handel is purrfect for cats
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Another study on cats and music, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, on March 30, 2015, found that cats are indifferent to pop music, dislike heavy metal but quite like a bit of classical, particularly George Handel. Neither do cats like Cats (the musical)! And leopards don’t enjoy Def Leopard! However, based on the study cats might enjoy a bit of Rossini-derived Cat Duet.


This is a follow up to Jo’s article on music and cats.


This is an interesting study and different to previous ones. It appears to have been conducted in order to see whether cats could benefit from music when under anaesthetic while undergoing surgery at a veterinary clinic.

The results suggest that cats under general anaesthetic are likely to mentally process music and exposure to music can affect the cat’s respiratory rate and the diameter of his/her pupils. These changes are related to the cat’s autonomic nervous system. This is the nervous system which runs the heart and other systems in the body that are constantly working. The results of the study also suggest that music in the surgical theatre may allow veterinarians to reduce the anaesthetic dosage thereby minimising undesirable side-effects.

For non-veterinarians, the results of the study indicate that cats prefer classical music. Twelve cats were at a clinic to be spayed (ovariohysterectomy). They were under general anaesthetic and exposed to 2 minute excerpts of three different genres of music; classical, pop and heavy metal at three stages during the surgery. The music was delivered to the cats via headphones.

Cats listening to classical music breathed more slowly and the diameter of their pupils was smaller.

Miguel Carreira PhD, MSc, DTO, Pst-Grd, DMD, DVM, was inspired to carry out the research after he had noticed that cats appear to be calmer when music was playing during veterinary checkups.

“In the surgical theatres… Environmental music is always present, and is an important element in promoting a sense of well-being in the team, the animals and their owners,” she said. “I have noticed, for example that most cats like classical music particularly George Handel compositions, and become more calm, confident and tolerant throughout the clinical evaluation.”

I like this study because of its scientific approach and because it genuinely has cat welfare in mind. The study appears to show that classical is best for cats and on the recommendation of Mr Carreira, Handel is the best of the classical composers. Why not give it a try!


The study referred to.

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