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Interventions to stop cats purring during clinical examination

C. J. L. Little, L. Ferasin, H. Ferasin, M. A. Holmes

CATS sometimes purr while being examined. The sound of purring can distract vets during auscultation, making it difficult to detect heart abnormalities and heart rate, as well as preventing the effective auscultation of the respiratory system. This study aimed to assess the frequency with which cats purr during routine thoracic auscultation and to identify an effective and safe intervention that might stop purring.

The researchers first conducted a pilot study in which vets were asked if they knew of any ways to stop cats purring during clinical examination; they also carried out an internet search. Some of the suggested methods were tested and the three most effective were identified as: blowing gently into the cat's ear; running a tap nearby; and spraying an alcohol-based aerosol (directed away from the cat) onto the examination table. They then conducted a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the three different methods. Cats attending a veterinary clinic in Canterbury, UK, over the course of a year were included in the study. Cats that purred while being examined were exposed to up to …

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