Purring. You can already feel the relaxing, calming effect of that unmistakable sound. Our feline friends are the only animal on Earth that makes that noise. Don’t let its soothing rhythms fool you. That gentle purr has real power.
The more scientists examine purring, the more they uncover about its transformative powers. In fact, that sound your pet makes when they curl up in your lap is so powerful that it could help astronauts fight bone density loss and muscle atrophy!
The transformative qualities of the purr are found in the story of Butterscotch the Cat. Butters, as his friends call him, was found wandering around the Mocksville Police Department in North Carolina. Starving and filthy, the officers brought him inside and helped Butters on his road to recovery. It didn’t take long for him to surprise everyone.
It happened when a suspect was brought in after engaging in a high-speed chase. The woman noticed Butters, picked him up, and he started purring. As she sat and calmly pet the soothing cat, she confessed to her crimes. After all the adrenaline and intensity of a high-speed chase, all it took was a cat’s purr to change everything.
The Relaxing Power of The Purr
Science has long known about the ability of purring to calm and relax us, just as Butters did, but research continues to show that a cat’s purr has healing properties that we could never have imagined - including healing bones, muscles, and tendons.
Traditionally, it has been assumed that a cat’s purr is an expression of pleasure, as well as a means of communication with its young. By purring a newborn kitten has the ability to signal to their mother that they are happy and nearby, while also letting mama sing a lullaby to her little ones - the ideal relaxing music!
While expressions of contentment and communicating with their young are both valid, that is not the full story. If you have ever taken a nervous cat to the veterinary clinic, you might have noticed an exception to this rule: cats purr when they are nervous or anxious.
This dichotomy has led researchers to theorize that there is a self-soothing element to the purr. If your cat is stressed or riddled with anxiety, they will purr as a way to calm themselves.
Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina, explains why the importance of purring in these stressful situations; she says that “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.”
At the very least, the purr is calming nerves, but could be doing so much more that we have yet to uncover. The more we research, the more we discover that cats share those healing power with us.
Benefits For Their Two-Legged Friends (That’s Us!)
There’s an old veterinary adage that says: ‘If you put a cat and a bunch of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal.’ While that has not proven, there is truth in that legend. That power comes from the frequency that cats purr at.
The mechanics of the purr are unique to cats. It occurs during both inhalation and exhalation, with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. A rhythmic, repetitive neural oscillator sends messages to the laryngeal muscles. That causes a sudden separation of the vocal cords – leading to this unique feline vibrato.
Research by Dr. Clinton Rubin has shown that the frequency at which cats purr (around 25Hz) can help with healing and increase bone density. This research could pave the way for non-invasive treatments to help a wide variety of illnesses and symptoms, like helping astronauts maintain bone density in space to speeding up recovery from bone fractures or breaks.
Furthermore, just having a cat in your home might help your heart health. Researchers from the University of Minnesota found that those who have a cat are at 40% less risk of heart attack than non-cat owners; a fact that researchers say could be attributed to the relaxing music of the purr!
All The Benefits, No Fur Balls
Don’t have a cat and want all the health benefits? We have the channel for you! Our Calming Purrs channel allows you to relax to the comfort of a calming purr without having to deal with any kitty litter. If you are a cat owner, you can listen while you work to give you a kitty fix!