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Does a Cat’s Purr Have Healing Powers? Here’s What Science Says

white cat lying

It is well known nowadays that companion animals can have positive mental and physical health benefits for humans like us that are lucky enough to share our lives with them. We know that dogs can work as service animals for some medical conditions, being active with your pets can encourage your healthy lifestyle, and having the love and companionship of a household pet can provide relief of stress and anxiety.

When it comes to cats though, there have been scientific studies into the health benefits of not only owning a cat but the benefits their purr can offer their human companions. So, the question is, does a cat’s purr offer healing powers? Let’s look at what science has discovered thus far.divider-cat

The Health Benefits of a Cat’s Purr: What Science Says

When a cat purrs, it releases endorphins within its brain. These endorphins are hormones that cause feelings of happiness, sociability, affection, excitement, and much more.

Studies show that not only does the cat’s purr release endorphins within themselves but also in humans. This can decrease stress levels, assist with coping through an illness, and even lower blood pressure.

So, what exactly causes this? It’s the sound. Throughout history, healers have used sound in their work with the belief that certain frequencies can have healing effects on both mental and physical health.

If you’ve never heard of vibration therapy, it is a form of therapy that uses whole-body vibration to enhance physical health and overall wellbeing. This therapy is heavily researched and has been utilized for many years by healthcare providers, professional athletes, and personal trainers for a variety of health benefits.

It is believed the frequency of the cat’s purr works similarly to the purpose of vibrational therapies. We’ll look at the different ways in which purring has been shown to influence different human health conditions and the health benefits attached.

sad looking cat lying down
Image Credit: pasja1000, Pixabay

Bones and Joints

The frequency of a cat’s purr is typically between 25Hz and 140Hz. These levels have shown promise in healing bone and joint problems, so much so that the rate of healing for broken bones has shown to increase. Ironically, cats tend to have very few issues with bones and joints. Vibrations from purring can assist in healing infections, reduce swelling, help bones heal and grow, offer pain relief, muscle growth and repair, and even tendon repair and better joint mobility.

Respiratory Conditions

It has been clinically observed that cats with upper respiratory conditions that result in trouble breathing, also known as dyspnea, have begun purring, which helped them to breathe more easily. It is believed this can have the same effect on a person in respiratory distress. Cats are not nearly as prone to respiratory distress symptoms compared to humans and dogs.

Heart Conditions

Studies have shown that the calming effect of having a purring cat nearby can relieve stress and lower blood pressure, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and even decreasing the chances of heart attack by up to 40 percent.

happy cat
Image Credit: islam zarat, Shutterstock

Migraines

It is believed that purring can also help humans deal with the pain of migraines and possibly even assist in eliminating them. Many people have come forward and told their stories of their migraines disappearing after laying near their purring cat.

Mental Health

A human’s mental health can be greatly improved by hearing a cat purr. Whether it be the sound frequency of the purr itself or the emotional reaction of the person when they hear the sweet, soft purr of their beloved companion. What we do know is that studies have shown a vast improvement in stress and anxiety when owners are accompanied by their pets.divider-cat

Why Do Cats Purr in the First Place?

Purring is a unique form of communication for cats and there are a variety of reasons that cats purr. Knowing what kind of effect purring can have on human health, it’s nice to know why our cat is purring in the first place.

  • Self-Soothing – You may notice that your cat purrs in some situations you would not normally expect to hear a purr, such as during a car ride, or as they wait in their carrier at the veterinarian’s office. You may notice your cat doing this as a form of self-soothing. Not only does their purr soothe their owners, but it can also do the same for them in times of distress.
  • Happiness/Affection – The most popular reason a cat purrs is out of happiness and to show affection. Cats will typically head bump and rub up against their owners while purring loudly or even snuggle up and softly purr in the comfort of their person’s lap. Purring can be how they express their happiness to be in your company and the comfort you provide them.
  • Kitten to Mother Communication – If you’ve ever been around a mother cat and her kittens, you will observe a lot of purring going on. Kittens are born blind, deaf, and helpless. The mother cat will purr to comfort the kittens and once they are a few days old, they will begin purring to confirm to their mother that they are feeling content. Purring is a large aspect of the bond between a mother and her kittens.
  • Hunger – Some cats will purr when they are hungry and demanding dinner. These types of purrs have been proven through scientific study to be different from that of a normal purr. Purrs as a result of hunger are typically combined with other sounds and it is believed the cats use their purr along with other demanding sounds to get the reaction they want out of their humans.
  • Injury or Illness – Cats have been known to purr after being injured or while experiencing an illness. As mentioned, cats in respiratory distress have begun breathing better after beginning to purr. After an injury, you may notice this as well, as it has been observed that sound frequency can promote bodily healing. This is where the scientific studies into vibrational frequency come into play. Not only do cats help humans with health issues, but they help heal themselves, too.

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Conclusion

Cats are such interesting creatures, and we may have only scratched the surface of their complex existence on this earth. One thing is for certain, science has proven cats can promote better health and well-being to their bipedal, mostly hairless house guests that provide them food and clean their litter box; and those house guests couldn’t be more grateful.

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Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

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