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Impact of Music on Stress in Hospitalized Cats


|January 2023

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This study evaluated the effect of 2 types of music (ie, cat-specific, classical) compared with no music (control) on stress in hospitalized cats. Cat-specific songs used frequencies similar to cat vocal ranges and were composed to create an affiliative effect using pulses related to purring (1380 bpm) and suckling (250 bpm).1 

Client-owned cats (n = 35) were randomly divided into 3 groups. Cat stress score, respiratory rate, and social interaction were measured at 5 specified times over 31 hours of hospitalization. Saliva for salivary cortisol measurement was collected during the first and fourth assessments. 

Cat stress scores did not differ among the groups at any time point. A higher percentage of social interactions was noted in the cat-specific music group compared with the other groups at the first evaluation, and average respiratory rate was lower in the classical music group than in the control group on the fourth evaluation. Statistical analysis of salivary cortisol was not possible due to the small number of viable samples obtained. The authors concluded that both cat-specific and classical music appear to offer some benefit to hospitalized cats.

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