The Secret Healing Benefits Behind Your Cats Meow

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By Sara Wylie 

Alright, this is for all you cat people (I know you’re out there!)

Very recently, a new addition was adopted into my little pet family (can you guess what it was?) – Yup, I got myself a kitten.

Generally, when it comes between cats and dogs, I’m more of a “diehard” dog person (don’t tell my kitten that), but I’ve still always had a soft spot for cats; it just finally got the best of me, I guess.

cat purrsBefore I ever got a cat for myself, however, my family collectively owned a number of cats while growing up. There was one in particular that I’d like to mention; his name was Pippin, affectionately named after Peregrin “Pippin” Took from The Lord of the Rings.

Pippin was basically a kitten who never truly grew up. He had the sweetest of personalities and was one of the most loving, affectionate cats I have ever known.

He was among my best animal friends, but he also ended up being my main “crying buddy.” It’s exactly what it sounds like – whenever I would cry, I would always go find Pippin and just cuddle with him until the tears would stop. He always helped make me feel better.

Now, why in the WORLD would I bring this up?

Because, my dear friend, of Pippin’s distinct, rhythmic purring.

Animal Therapy Through The Decades

For as long as it’s been since the dog was declared “man’s best friend,” animals have been used for all sorts of different therapies and services with extremely effective results (there’s a reason pet owners tend to live longer than non-pet owners).

Dogs in particular are used as companions for soldiers at war, they lead the blind, they warn epileptics of oncoming seizures, they are the sidekicks of policemen, they are used to help prisoners at rehabilitation centers, they are used for emotional therapy and so much more.

Cats, on the other hand, aren’t necessarily the companions you will see chasing down bombs on the battlefield, but they are used for a number of therapeutic purposes, including (but not limited to) aiding in the recovery of injured patients and standing in as emotional-support companions.

Other than their (usually) friendly temperaments, one of the biggest reasons cats are so effective in these areas is because of their unique ability to purr.

How And Why Do Cats Purr?

The sound of a cat’s purr is produced by the coordinated interaction of both the laryngeal and diaphragmatic  muscles, vibrating at a semi-consistent rate through their inhalation and exhalation process.

Though most people assume it’s because of pleasure that cat’s purr, the true reasons for it are still actually a bit of a riddle to researchers and scientists, mostly due to the fact that cat’s have been known to purr in situations where they clearly are not content or satisfied. But, through observation, it has at least become clear that the purring is often used as a way for cats to help themselves calm down – a “calming signal,” as some would call it.

How Purring Effects Humans

As cats purr, the rhythmic sound runs at a patterned frequency of 25 to 150 hertz. Many studies and investigations have shown that sound frequencies within this range have the capability of positively impacting human injury and illness and essentially helping them to recover.

Another reason it’s been supposed that a cat’s purr is meant for calming purposes is because the sound also has the ability of calming the heart rate of humans and helping them calm down as well along with them. So, with both the sound and the rhythm of their purring, cats have natural effects on humans both physically and emotionally.

Here are 7 ways a cat’s purr is good for your health:

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1. Lower Stress – Petting a cat can be very stress relieving and as a result can help prevent stress induced illnesses.

2. Decrease Symptoms Of Dyspnea – In both cats and people, cats can help decrease symptoms of dyspnea, which is breathing is compromised, either labored or short.

3. Lower Blood Pressure – Along with relieving stress, cats can also lower blood pressure and calm you at a physical level on the inside. This has been a commonly observed result in people with symptoms of hypertension when they spent some time playing with and petting cats.

4. Help Strengthen Bone Grown – This is where the 25-150 frequency range really has shown to have an impact. Sounds have the ability to do a number of things depending on their frequency and pitch, just like how high pitched frequencies are capable of breaking glass. Studies have produced evidence that frequencies in the “purring range” are capable of helping bones mend.

5. Lower Risk Of Heart Attack – In a similar way to how cats affect blood pressure, it has also been proven that they can reduce a person’s risk of heart attack by a least 40%.

6. Help Ease Infection And Swelling – The vibration of cat purring also has shown to help reduce inflamed swelling and symptoms of various infections.

7. Aid In The Recovery Of Soft Tissue – While they can help in the strengthening and mending of bones, the purr vibration frequency also help pull torn muscle tissue back together in its natural recovery process.

Crazy stuff, right? Who knew just how much those darling, smile-enhancing little vibrations had the potential to do so much, along with the fluffy creatures that produce them?

Referring back to Pippin, my dear little “crying buddy,” I know for a fact he helped me in more ways than just one. His distinct purring that vibrated away against my crying face and chest and his sweet, loving temperament helped comfort me and pull me through a great deal of emotional distress I dealt with while growing up. He really was one of the best emotional therapists I’ve ever had.

More Than Just Vain, Arrogant Fuzzballs

If you’ve been considering bringing a cat into your home, you now have more positive reasons to do so, especially if you or members of your family deal with a lot of emotional imbalance and are searching for some alternative, natural help. Or, if you’ve been begging a significant other for a pet kitty, here’s a whole nother argument point for you! If you already have one (or more), maybe show them your gratitude by gifting them with some catnip?

It’s true, cats may be picky, destructive, selfish, vain and/or arrogant at times, but for the most part, they truly can be incredible companions (and not only for the health benefits either). A definite recommendation in the pet-lover’s world.

Do you have any personal experiences with anything mentioned in this article or thoughts on how cats can improve your life (positive ones, please)? Feel free to share them with us in the comments below, we love hearing from you!

 
Sources:
http://www.dailyinfographic.com/the-healing-power-of-cat-purrs-infographic
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-do-cats-purr/
http://mom.me/pets/cats/19946-cats-purring-proven-help-human-health-numerous-ways/
http://www.the-wayfarer.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=223%3Athe-science-of-healing-from-cats-part-2&catid=8%3Aarticles&Itemid=8
http://www.animalvoice.com/catpurrP.htm#2pAB7.%20The%20felid%20purr:%20A%20healing%20mechanism?%20Session:%20Tuesday%20Afternoon,%20Dec%2004%20Time:%203:15
http://abcnews.go.com/Health/HeartDiseaseCenter/story?id=4325718&page=1lleader_34 (1)

Sara Wylie

Sara Wylie

Editorial Intern at Fitlife.tv
Sara Wylie resides in Utah where she is currently working as an Editorial Intern for Fitlife.tv while also pursuing a career in writing. She hopes that through her words and fiery passion, she will be able to not only inspire others to seek out and nourish their own passions, but to also help others feel what it’s like to truly be alive.
Sara Wylie
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