There is something very soothing about the sound of a cat purring. How often do you put your head alongside your cat to listen closely to the rhythmic sound of its vibrating purr?
Why does a cat purr?
We always assume that a cat only purrs when they are happy – whilst they are relaxing, eating, playing or being stroked by their favourite human. But cats also purr for other reasons. When they are in pain or injured, cats purr to calm and soothe themselves. Cats often purr when they visit the vet, because they are feeling scared or stressed. Nursing mother cats purr when their kittens are suckling as a means of communicating contentment and motherly love.
The science of purring
A cat purrs with its mouth closed, creating a continuous melodic vibrating sound. It is caused by the rhythmic contractions of the larynx (the voicebox) and the diaphragm muscles whilst the cat inhales and exhales. Scientists have measured purr vibrations within a range of 25 and 150 Hertz, a frequency which is proven to be medically therapeutic for many illnesses.
The holistic healing community are well aware of the health benefits conveyed by the vibrational sound and feeling of a cat purring on your lap. It is for this reason that cats are often taken to visit retirement villages and people convalescing in hospital – they are good therapy!
In human medicine, scientists know that frequencies of 20 to 50 Hertz are helpful in speeding the healing process of bone injuries. Purr vibrations can help heal soft tissue injuries to ligaments, tendons and muscles. Petting a purring cat can also lower your stress levels, calm your nerves, boost your immune system and reduce your blood pressure.
Cats are both our healers and our companions. Stroking a cat and listening to them purr is therapeutic music to anyone’s ears.