CSU to study classical music effects on cats

Mozart may be the latest weapon in the fight to get cats to the vet’s office.

Colorado State University announced that it is conducting a study to see how classical music may lead to better veterinary care for felines. The study, based on research results for humans and dogs, will look at the effects of music on lowering the stress that 50 cats and their caregivers experience while at the veterinarian’s office.

Studies have shown that client visits to the veterinarian are declining, particularly among cat owners. One key reason clients cite is the stress they and their cats suffer on the way to the veterinarian’s office and after they arrive. A collaborative study by Bayer Animal Health, the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues (NCVEI) and Brakke Consulting shows that dogs visit the vet about 2.3 times a year compared to 1.7 times a year for cats.

According to CSU, music therapy in human medicine can reduce anxiety and stress in patients and can lower pain levels, blood pressure, heart and respiratory rates, anxiety and emotional distress in a quick, safe, inexpensive and non-invasive way.

Non-humans appear to respond the same way, with initial research showing that certain classical music reduces stress in rodents, primates, dogs, birds and other animals. For example, one study of dogs in rescue shelters showed that classical music changed their behavior to produce more periods of rest, less time standing and more quiet time.

"If this study finds that classical music lowers the stress levels for cats and their caretakers during veterinary visits, veterinarians can start using calming music in their waiting room immediately and improve the emotional health of those in their clinic -- human and four-legged," said Dr. Narda Robinson, veterinarian at Colorado State University. "Pet owners note that their cats dislike going to the vet more so than dogs, which means they may take them less often. This may then lead to less regular medical attention for cats."

Source: CSU