By Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, April 2, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Hearing music -- especially classical music -- may help cats relax during surgery, a new small study reports.
The research included 12 female pet cats who were being spayed. The felines were outfitted with headphones while under anesthesia. They heard two minutes of silence, followed by two minutes each of a classical music piece, a pop song and a heavy metal song.
Relaxation was measured by the cats' respiratory rates and pupil diameters.
The classical music put the cats in the most relaxed state, followed by the pop music, and then the heavy metal music, according to the researchers at the University of Lisbon in Portugal.
The findings suggest that playing certain types of music while pets are having surgery may help them relax and reduce the amount of anesthesia they require, thereby reducing the risk of harmful side effects.
The study was published March 30 in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery.
"In the surgical theaters at the faculty where I teach and at the private veterinary medical center where I spend my time operating, environmental music is always present, and is an important element in promoting a sense of well-being in the team, the animals, and their owners," said study lead author Dr. Miguel Carreira in a journal news release.
"Different music genres affect individuals in different ways. During consultations I have noticed, for example, that most cats like classical music, particularly George Handel compositions, and become more calm, confident and tolerant throughout the clinical evaluation," Carreira noted.
The researchers said they plan to continue their research in dogs as well as cats.