I’ll focus on cats. Custom-made calming cat music played in veterinary clinics before and during their interaction with the veterinarian reduced stress in cats and made them more handleable. This is the conclusion of a study carried out at Louisiana State University (LSU) called: Effects of music on behavior and physiological stress response of domestic cats in a veterinary clinic. The lead researcher is Amanda Hampton.
There were three measurements of stress: Cat stress scores (CSS), handling scale scores (HS) and neutrophil:lymphocyte ratios (NLR). NLRs measure low level inflammation which can’t be seen as a symptom.
The scientists concluded:
Listening to cat-specific music prior to, and during, physical examination was associated with lower CSSs and lower HSs in cats, but had no effect on the physiological stress responses measured by NLRs.
It appears that classical music for humans made no difference i.e there was no difference between stress levels in cats if the vet consultation was carried out in silence or with classical music. But CSSs were ‘significantly decreased in cats listening to cat music vs silence and in cats listening to cat music vs classical music’. I suppose if classical music calmed the vet and staff that might have a positive effect on the cat!
What is cat specific music?
It contains ‘melodic lines based on affiliative vocalisations and rewarding sounds’. I’ll have to interpret that description. Based on the description provided, it is specially created music based on the sounds domestic cats make to each other when in close proximity and the sounds cat moms make when rewarding their cat. They’d be suckling and purring sounds layered into tempos with feline vocalisations. And it is melodic. That is my interpretation. The study does not provide an example I am afraid. It was played for 10 minutes.
Twenty-one cats participated below the age of 10. There were 12 males and 8 females.
How many vet clinics play calming music at present? I’ve never been in one. I’d have thought that this study would encourage a reasonable percentage of clinics to introduce cat and dog specific music. It would be a good marketing tool as a barrier to going to the vet’s is the stress of the experience both for cat and owner. When a cat is stressed the owner is stressed.
This is a very short summary as I know people don’t like diving into long and complicated scientific studies. However, if you are interested you can read the study by clicking on the link below:
SOME MORE ON STUDIES:
East and west coast USA are the most secular and therefore wealthier resulting in better domestic cat welfare