International Cat Day: The healing power of cat purrs

When, why and how cats purr

Cat expert Professor Leslie Lyons explains that most cat species produce a “purr-like” vocalization which people generally view as a form of communication or as an expression of pleasure as a result of being stroked or fed or when they are nursing  kittens.

But cats also purr when they are stressed or severely injured; when they are recovering from an illness or injury; and even while giving birth or while they are dying.

Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina, delved further into why a cat would waste energy purring in its last moments.

“For the purr to exist in different cat species over time, geographical isolation etc. there would likely have to be something very important (survival mechanism) about the purr. There also would have to be a very good reason for energy expenditure (in this case creation of the purr), when one is physically stressed or ill. The vibration of the cat’s diaphragm, which with the larynx, creates the purr, requires energy. If an animal is injured they would not use this energy unless it was beneficial to their survival. If purring is a healing mechanism, it may just help them to recover faster, and perhaps could even save their life.”

Because cats have adapted to conserve energy by means of long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without using a lot of energy.

Scientists have demonstrated that cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz.

Domestic cats and wild cats produce strong frequencies at exactly 25 Hertz and 50 Hertz. These two low frequencies are associated with the promotion of bone growth and fracture healing.

The most recent research on frequencies that promote bone growth, fracture healing, pain relief, relief of breathlessness and inflammation, show that frequencies between 20 Hertz and 150 Hertz are healing frequencies. All cat species have purr frequencies between 20 Hertz and 150 Hertz with the exception of the cheetah. This corresponds exactly with the best healing frequencies.

The purring of a cat:

  • Lowers stress  –  petting a purring cat has a calming effect.
  • Decreases the symptoms of dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing) in cats and humans.
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease – cat owners have 40 percent less risk of having a heart attack.
  • Helps with infections, swelling, pain, muscle growth and repair, tendon repair and joint mobility.

The healing power of cat purrs

If you don’t have a cat there are many videos on youtube of cats purring.

Listen: Healing sounds of cat purrs for bone density

Source: Capricorn Review