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J Feline Med Surg. 2019 Feb 12:1098612X19828131. doi: 10.1177/1098612X19828131. [Epub ahead of print]

Effects of music on behavior and physiological stress response of domestic cats in a veterinary clinic.

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1 School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.
2 Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, School of Veterinary Medicine, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.



Our objective was to determine if feline-specific music played in a veterinary clinical setting would promote lower cat stress scores (CSSs), lower mean handling scale scores (HSs) and reduced neutrophil:lymphocyte ratios (NLRs) in cats during physical examinations.


Cats were exposed to one of three auditory stimuli tests - silence, classical music and cat-specific music - during three physical examinations 2 weeks apart. CSSs were recorded at pre- and post-auditory tests and during the examination period. The HSs were recorded at the physical examination period. The physiological stress was assessed via NLRs.


The pre-auditory test showed no difference in CSS between cats listening to silence, classical music and cat music. CSSs for post-auditory tests and examination periods were not significantly different between silence and classical music; however, CSSs were significantly decreased in cats listening to cat music vs silence and in cats listening to cat music vs classical music. HSs were not different in cats listening to silence vs classical music, but were significantly lower in cats listening to cat music vs silence and classical music. No difference was found in NLRs among all three auditory stimuli tests.


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. We conclude that cat-specific music may benefit cats by decreasing the stress levels and increasing the quality of care in veterinary clinical settings.


CSS; Feline music; HS; behavior; cat stress scores; handling score; species-specific music


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