London: For veterinary doctors, here is a sound piece of advice: Play some classical music when clinically evaluating cats as they love to relax when some classical compositions are in the air.
According to research published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery by veterinary clinicians, music is likewise beneficial for cats in the surgical environment.
But not all music is equal in this respect -- cats, it seems, favour most the classical music.
"Most cats like classical music, particularly George Handel compositions, and become more calm, confident and tolerant throughout the clinical evaluation," said lead study author Miguel Carreira from University of Lisbon.
The clinicians studied 12 female pet cats undergoing surgery for neutering, and recorded their respiratory rate and pupil diameter at various points to gauge their depth of anaesthesia.
The cats, which had been fitted with headphones, were meanwhile exposed to two minutes of silence (as a control), followed randomly by two minutes each of classical renditions.
The results showed that the cats were in a more relaxed state under the influence of classical music, with the pop music producing "intermediate" values.
By contrast, the heavy metal music produced the highest values, indicating "a more stressful situation".
The use of certain music genres in the surgical room may allow a decrease in the dose of anaesthetic agent required and, in turn, reducing the risk of undesirable side effects and promoting the animal's safety.
In the future, the team hopes to incorporate more sophisticated techniques, such as functional MRI and electroencephalography, into their investigations.