This morning I woke to find June Buggie lying on my chest purring loudly. Immediately a feeling of peace washed over me.
How is that?
Purring happens when cats contract both their laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. That’s how they can purr while inhaling and exhaling. Purring happens at low frequencies of between 25 and 150 hertz. This frequency is considered calming toward other cats. It’s why cats purr to let other cats know it’s OK to approach, and why mama cats purr to soothe their babies. Kittens begin to purr within the first week of life. The purrs helps solidify the mother/child bond.
Did you know that purring can also help cats soothe and even heal themselves and each other? True! The low frequency of purring has found to heal bones and wounds, build muscle and repair tendons, ease breathing and lessen pain and swelling. It’s thought that cats purr when stressed to soothe themselves.
Humans also benefit from all that good stuff. People who live with cats are 40% less likely to suffer a heart attack. Cats purring lowers our blood pressure, helps us heal, and lowers stress. Broken bone? You want your cat nearby and purring. The frequency of the purrs promotes bone density. Regular contact with a contented cat should be a given for all sufferers of osteoporosis.
Funny, isn’t it? We have millions of homeless cats here in the US, and each one of them has this innate ability to facilitate healing in humans in return for a regular meal and a daily scoop of the litter box. But we humans in our infinite wisdom would rather pop a pill. Do you think we could convince doctors to start prescribing cats instead?
Perhaps not. But I will continue to listen to my sweet kitty’s soothing sounds. His purring will ease my mind when I’m stressed and heal me when I’m sick or injured.
And then he will insist I get up to feed him.