Can Cats Purrfect Healing?


purring cat is happy

If you are a cat owner, you may have noticed that your cat makes a continuous tonal fluttering sound. Cats often make this sound to express contentment or use it as a form of communication. This sound is called purring.


Cat owners are well aware of this sound, and most think it is the expression of happiness.

Studies show that cats purr for many different reasons and not only because they are happy. The soft rumble of a cat can be a form of communication and it can also be self-soothing or self-healing. When cats become injured or experience a stressful event, they purr to self-sooth and self-heal.

small kittens purring together

Owners may have also observed that this purring is partly voluntary and partly intuitive. There are various reasons for this behavior. You may not believe it, but cats are born blind and deaf, and they remain blind and deaf for two weeks. It can be strange to know that they begin purring right after a few days. The possible reason for this behavior could be to communicate with their mother where they are or to attract their attention for feeding.


Cats instinctively know this behavior from birth and continue to repeat it throughout adulthood. Cat owners mainly observe this behavior when their cats want to be petted or fed. Most owners joke about becoming "trained" by their cat when their cats purr or meow for things they want. If you have ever owned a cat, you know that cats are really good at training their humans. Purring is a good way to provide humans "positive reinforcement" for when we provide the cat with things he desires. And it works!


two cats purring for treats

Purring to Get the Goods

Purring is also associated with pleasure and bonding. When patting or stroking their cats, cat owners express their association. Behaviorists call this behavior an expression of affirmation. Behaviorists suggest that purring is a sign of encouragement for further interaction as if your cat is saying to please continue stroking me.


Studies show that purring is also associated with a cry, meaning cats can hide their cry within the purr. It creates a nurturing response among cat owners, just like the human baby cries for his mother.


The study also observed that the purr for obtaining food is different compared to another purr. When cats purr to obtain food, the noise seems less pleasant and more urgent. It shows a cat's ability to manipulate its purr for different purposes.

cat in mans arms purring

Studies show that cats are very responsive pets, and they learn different behaviors only if it brings their desired response. For example, cats can adapt to meow to move their owners and get the desired results. It means that if their owner happens to be deaf, the cats will be most likely to meow less when they learn that it does not trigger their desired response. The same adaptation is applied to purr. Cats are less likely to change the purr frequency when they observe that changing frequency does not elicit any response.


cat laying on the bed purring

How do cats purr?

Studies have helped us understand a lot about purring. A study in 1991 concluded that the purring sound is produced by the larynx of the cat's voice box. When cats breathe, the air is passed through the glottis.


Cats constrict and dilate the glottis and the area around their vocal cords in a rhythmic fashion. The rhythmic and rapid fashion of movement creates a sound that we call purr.

You may also ask why a cat would produce purr after a stressful event. Studies helped us find the reason for this behavior just the same.


A study published in 2001 explained the fact that domestic cats and some species of cheetah and puma can change the frequency of their purr up to the point that they help them relieve pain and even repair bone.


Now that I have described many reasons for purring, you may be confused next time your cat purrs. You may not be able to find the reason for purring. However, the best chance of understanding a purring cat is to look at her body language and the context.


For example, if you find your cat purring in the morning, she may be asking for food. However, if your cat purrs just after your return from the office, she may be saying hello. If she is sitting in your lap and purring contentedly, she may be signaling approval.


What Happens When They Purr – Endorphin Release

Above mentioned reasons for purr are an attempt to explain the behavioral causes. However, science can explain it further. Science has physiological causes to explain the reason for the purr.


When a cat purrs, it releases endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the hormones responsible for many behavioral responses associated with happiness, affection, excitement, and sociability, including the purring.


The study extends its observation and says that endorphins are not only released in a cat's body. Endorphins are released inside humans associated with the cat. It can help decrease the stress level, lower blood pressure and help in coping with an illness.


Purr Vibrations Helping Their Body and Humans Heal

People often ask what exactly causes so much relief from pain and illness? Studies show that it is the sound that has so many beautiful effects.


Healers have used different sounds in their work to believe that specific sound frequencies can heal and boost both physical and mental health.


You may have heard of vibration therapy, a form of therapy used to boost physical health and well-being utilizing whole-body vibrations. Vibration therapy has been popular for many years. This therapy is heavily researched and is utilized by many healthcare professionals, personal trainers, and professional athletes.


Keeping the context of vibration therapy in mind, we can explain that the frequency of a cat's purr can serve the purpose of vibrational therapy. Let us look at different ways in which purr can influence human health conditions.

chart showing cat purring frequency benefits
Photo credit: Simplemost

Bones and joints

Vibrational therapy is beneficial in healing bones and joints. The typical sound of purr ranges between 25Hz and 140Hz. Studies have proved that a sound ranging between these two values can promise to heal bones and joints.


Exposing to the sound of ranging between these values even increases the healing rate. Not only this, vibrational therapy can help reduce swelling, heal infections, and help bones grow and repair, offering pain relief, tendon repair, and improved joint mobility. You can say that purring can take care of everything happening with bones and joints.

cat with respiratory problems yawning

Respiratory problems

It has been observed that cats who suffer from upper respiratory tract infections have difficulty breathing. This condition is known as dyspnea. Cats suffering from this problem start purring, which helps them breathe comfortably.


It is believed that humans have the same effect as cats while suffering from respiratory distress. Cats are less prone to respiratory distress as compared to humans.


Heart conditions

Purring lowers blood pressure and helps in reducing the chances of several heart problems. Lowering blood pressure is mainly associated with stress relief and reducing the chances of heart attack by 40%.


Cats are very sensitive animals, and they are associated with several heart diseases because they find it difficult to cope with stress. Stress can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems.


In that context, purring serves as the compensatory mechanism to reduce blood pressure and its consequential problems for both themselves and their owners.


Migraines

Purring has many benefits for humans; one of the benefits is its soothing effect on migraines. It is believed that purring can help humans deal with the severe pains of migraines, and it can also assist them in eliminating migraines.

This belief is established by the fact telling stories of many people who said that their migraines disappeared after listening to the purring sounds of their cat. They lie down near their cats to routinely listen to the purring sound.

petting the cat boosts mental health

Mental health

Purring has been shown to improve the mental health of humans. It is believed that humans have experienced improved mental health after listening to a purr. It is less important whether it is the sound frequency of purr, the soft and soothing sound of a purr, or the emotional reaction of humans that does the wonder. The most important part is that the purr is beneficial to both the cat and human.


Mental health has been considered one of the main goals of therapists. Therapists are continuously working and devising various strategies to help reduce these problems.

Sound therapy is popular among therapists as patients feel comfortable during therapy and experience wonderful results. Studies have shown vast improvement in anxiety and stress issues of humans who have cats. Even petting the cat can create a stress release feeling for us humans. The purr is an added benefit!


Final thoughts

Though purring is often associated with contentment and happiness, it isn't the case every time. The next time you hear your cat purring, you shouldn't panic with confusion as to what your cat wants. The best way to figure out the situation is by looking at what is going on in the surrounding. If your cat is craving dinner, the frequency of purring may be a little higher because your furry friend will have food in their mind. If your furry friend is purring and biting you, she may be mad at you. It may happen sometime that your furry friend continues to purr for 24 to 36 hours, and it may be due to some illness. However, if your cat is cuddling and purring, your cat must be enjoying the time with you.


We can think of our cats as natural pain relievers who provide us happy feelings and if you ever want to give your cat some healing back, look no further than the acupressure points on their magical beans. You can set up acupressure sessions that can boost their immune system, strengthen their tendons and ligaments, prevent tummy upsets, support healthy joints and more! Acupressure is one of the holistic services we provide to continue to support the body's natural abilities to heal.


cat purring by human

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