Last Updated on: November 26, 2014 by Ingrid King


Research has found that a cat’s purr can heal body tissues and bones, and that simply petting a cat can lower your blood pressure. Those of us who share our lives with cats don’t need convincing that cats have healing powers, and I would bet that for most of us, our feline family members have occasionally served as furry therapists. In Purr Therapy: What Timmy and Marina Taught Me About Life, Love and Loss, psychotherapist Dr. Kathleen McCoy shares her experience of how two very special cats helped her in her work with her patients.

This book provides a fascinating and close up look at how these two cats worked with McCoy’s patients, bringing healing in often unexpected ways. McCoy never intended to use cats in her work. In the case of Timmy, a longtime patient had called for an emergency session over a weekend, so McCoy saw the patient at her home. “When Timmy heard the woman crying, he came running, jumped on her lap, dried her paws with his tears, and rubbed his face against hers before curling up on her lap,” said McCoy in an interview with her publicist. Years later, Marina ran into her office while a father and son were arguing during a session. Her presence calmed the duo, and opened the door for some calmer and more productive dialogue.

I loved this book on a lot of different levels. I enjoyed reading about the various ways in which the two cats helped McCoy’s clients. I also loved reading about the author’s personal relationship with her cats and how they’ve enriched hers and her husband’s life. Her husband suffered from seizures, depression and night terrors, and the cats always managed to calm him down.

In addition to the narrative, the book also features life lessons from Timmy and Marina, as well as a section on enduring lessons for the grieving process, something the author, like so many of us, learned the hard way after losing her beloved cats.

This inspiring memoir will warm your heart, make you shed a few tears, and give you a whole new appreciation for the gifts the cats in your life have given you.