Classical music played to cats during surgery could help reduce the dosage of anaesthetic, according to research.
The findings, published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery by the University of Lisbon, found music is beneficial for cats in a surgical environment – but it’s the tempo of music that matters.
The clinicians discovered that using certain music genres in theatre dropped the dose of anaesthetic agent required, in turn reducing the risk of undesirable side effects and thus promoting patient safety.
Veterinary surgeon and professor at the university Miguel Carreira said he wanted to find out if cats undergoing surgery would experience the same benefits from musical therapy as humans do.
He assembled a team of veterinarians to tackle the question.
The result may well be the most adorable medical study in history.
The team put headphones on 12 female cats undergoing elective spaying, and piped in two minute excerpts of three songs from different genres – Adagio For Strings (Opus 11) by Samuel Barber, Torn by Natalie Imbruglia and Thunderstruck by AC/DC.
They monitored the respiratory rate and pupillary diameter of the anesthetized cats, and made assumptions about their stress levels.
Not surprisingly, the calm classical stylings of Barber soothed them.
Dr Carreira said he and his colleagues planed to continue their studies by looking at the influence of music on other physiological parameters, including cortisol and catecholamines, in dogs as well as cats.