Classical cats

How is your intimate relationship going? Does your chosen living partner ignore you unless they want to eat or need some physical affection? Do they sleep most of the day and then go out at night without explanation of where they are going or when they will be back? When you want a cuddle do they look at you with disdain but at other times demand your attention? Of course you wouldn’t stay in a relationship like that but then…do you have a cat? It is strange that the sort of treatment and behaviour that would end a relationship with a human is standard fare when it comes to cats. There is small doubt that cats rule the homes in which they dwell so if your live in a cat-ocracy then you want your feline friend to be as calm as possible and according to a new study, to achieve this you may need some classical music.

The study involved female cats undergoing surgery for neutering. To test levels of stress and/or relaxation the cats had their respiratory rate and pupil diameter measured. All of the cats were also fitted with headphones and listened to two minutes of silence (control situation) followed by either Barber’s “Adagio for Strings (Opus 11)”, Natalie Imbruglia’s “Thorn”, or AC/DCs “Thunderstruck”.

It emerged that cats had slower respiratory rates and wider pupil diameter, indicating greater relaxation, when they listened to the classical music, the pop music produced more intermediate values, while the heavy rock of AC/DC induced more stress.

In the clinical setting this means that veterinary surgeons might be able to use classical music to reduce the amount of anaesthetic required when they are operating on cats. In the home you might be able to keep your feline ruler calm with some classical strains, possibly “Für Elise”?

Terry Robson

Terry Robson

Terry Robson is the Editor-in-Chief of WellBeing and the Editor of EatWell.

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