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Will Music Make Cats Sleep? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Kit Copson

Last Updated on July 2, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

tabby cat sleeping on sofa

Will Music Make Cats Sleep? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Amanda Charles Photo


Dr. Amanda Charles

BVSc GPCert (Derm) MRCVS (Veterinarian)

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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The benefits of music for helping humans relax are well documented, but could it also help stressed kitties wind down and sleep? According to a 2019 study into the effects of music on cats’ behavior and stress responses, music can indeed calm cats down.1 On that basis, it’s possible that it might help some cats sleep, too, but each cat is unique, so there are no guarantees.

Just any type of music won’t do: It takes a special kind to get cats into a relaxed state. Read on to learn what kind of music chills cats out and what researchers discovered during the 2019 study.

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What Does Research Tell Us About Music & Cats?

In 2019, Louisiana State University researchers conducted a study on how music affects behavior and stress responses in domestic cats in a veterinary clinic setting. The 20 participating cats were exposed to three kinds of stimuli: silence, classical music, and cat-specific music during physical examinations.

The research was carried out over several sessions a few weeks apart and the cats were scored on a stress score, a handling scale score and from blood samples to measure their physiological stress response.

At the end of the study, researchers concluded that cat-specific music was the most effective for reducing stress-related behaviors and suggested that cat-specific music be played in veterinary clinics to help cats feel more at ease there.

As explained by lead researcher Amanda Hampton DVM, this could have a positive impact on not just the cat, but also the cat’s guardians and veterinary staff as a relaxed cat is much easier to examine. Accurate exams lead to more accurate diagnoses, which means it’s more likely a cat will receive appropriate treatment if a health condition is detected.

tabby cat sleeping on woman's lap
Image Credit by: larisa Stefanjuk, Shutterstock

What Is Cat-Specific Music?

Cat-specific music is made up of sounds that mimic a variety of natural sounds cats make and at the frequencies within a cat’s vocal range—the music used in the study (Scooter Bere’s Aria by David Teie) was two octaves higher than a human’s range. The piece of music contains sounds that are soothing to cats, like purring and suckling noises.

Purring, in particular, has been linked to healing and self-soothing in cats. It’s a form of bonding between mother cats and their kittens, and researchers have suggested that purring creates vibrations at frequencies that match with those used to help ease pain, heal bones and wounds, develop muscles, and contribute to joint flexibility. This is thought to be partly why cats purr not only when they’re happy, but also when they’re injured or sick.

Does Cat-Specific Music Help Cats Sleep?

The 2019 study’s objective was to discover whether or not music would lower cats’ stress levels, not whether it would also make cats sleep. If a cat is in a place where they feel safe and secure, like your home, it’s possible that the calming effects of cat-specific music could help them doze off to sleep. However, it’s hard to imagine cats falling asleep during a veterinary checkup even if their stress levels are reduced.

So, to answer this question, we can only say cat-specific music might help some cats sleep based on the finding that it reduces stress and anxiety, but cats are individuals with unique responses to stimuli, so there are no guarantees. There’s nothing wrong with giving it a try, though!

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Final Thoughts

If you’re curious about cat-specific music and want to try it out to see if it helps your cat unwind and sleep, you can find plenty on streaming platforms like Spotify and YouTube. Try popping some cat music on in the car on the way to the vet clinic or leaving it on while you’re not at home if your cat has separation anxiety.

Featured Image Credit: Rafa Beladiez Martinez, Shutterstock

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