We all know how wonderful it is to be around a purring cat. If there’s anything more soothing than to be lulled to sleep or woken up by the sound of purring, I don’ t know what it is. But a cat’s purr is not only calming and relaxing: research shows that the cat’s purr has healing properties and can actually heal bones, muscles and tendons.Continue Reading
One of the primary ways cats communicate is through body language, but they also express themselves vocally. Cats have a wide range of vocal expressions, and “meow” is only one of them.Continue Reading
Purring is usually considered a sign of contentment, but there’s more to a cat’s purr than meets the ear.
While there are a number of different theories of how cats purr, the consensus among researchers seems to be that purring is the result of signals from the brain to the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz.
Even though cats do purr when they’re content, purring can also be a sign of stress. Cats also purr when frightened or injured. In these situations, purring appears to function as a self-soothing mechanism.
Believe it or not, our sweet-bundles-of-fur are probably saving us a bundle in medical bills.
This is another reason I’m into natural cat care—not only is it more ecological and vet-bill preventative, but our cats contribute so much to our well-being that we want to give them more life-extending love. Wait til you hear all this!
While cats in particular have healing powers, research on pet companionship in general is also impressive.
According to research discussed in this news report, people with pets save the Australian health service about $880 million per year and save Germany about $6.6 billion per year. The research found that people with pets:
need fewer visits to their doctor each year
have fewer sleeping difficulties
are less likely to need heart condition medicine
I was really excited about some research I found on cats in particular.
Cats may reduce heart attack risk by 40%
While a study showed that both cats and dogs reduced stress-related blood pressure more than ace inhibitor medication, a study at the University of Minnesota found that cats in particular may reduce your chances of a heart attack by 40%.
The study, which looked at 4,435 Americans aged 30 to 75, showed that those who did not have a cat had a 40% higher risk of having a heart attack and a 30% greater risk of dying from other heart diseases than those who have or have had a cat.
I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia many years ago. That’s a crazy erratic, racing heartbeat that happens periodically in varying degrees of intensity and threat.
I did not have a cat at the time. A bit later I lived with cats again and a bit later I stopped having arrhythmia. Didn’t think much of it.
Fast forward many years to when my only cat, Bastet, was dying. I started having bouts of terrible heart arrhythmia symptoms. After she died it got worse–and by worse I mean nearly constant.
It stopped the day we brought home two new purring youngsters named Phil and Joel. The arrhythmia disappeared that day and hasn’t returned since. Were there other factors that may have affected my heart arrhythmia in these cases? Probably. But the timing of the healing was uncanny.
What’s at the root of a cat’s healing power?
There’s certainly some mystery as to exactly how cats and dogs manage to be good for our health. So far my investigation has uncovered these research nuggets about the healing power of kitty cats:
My husband thinks it makes for a funny picture whenever I sit down to meditate. In our house, I usually have a cat or two as I sit cross-legged on the couch in my lap or somewhere nearby purring happily and meditating right along with me. Of course, said husband also freely admitted a week or so back that our girl Bella laid right down on his chest while he was listening to a Nancy Georges hypnosis session – shame on him for not listening to one of mine! 😉
Bastien, our youngest rescue, is learning to be a great hypnosis assistant. He’ll either curl up in my lap or next to my clients during a hypnotherapy session to settle right down for the 40 minutes or so, purring the entire time. And while he irritates his sister felines, Bella and Bijoux, since he’s so young, he is such a momma’s boy that he tries to do whatever I’m doing. If that means meditating, he’s right there with me. And, thankfully, my clients love him.
I wish I knew what’s going thru their minds when they curl up with me, but I know the soft purr and warm body only help to enhance my focus. Somehow, they just know the right spot and the right level to help you achieve that perfect moment of Zen.
Mine never interrupt; none of them ever have.
I’m not sure what the trigger is…the breathing, the music, the sudden calmness? Sagesse, an angel kitty now, was the only one who helped me through those late nights as a first time mom. She’d learned how to calm and meditate with me when she was a kitten, so, when I needed it most, she was right there next to me vibrating that same purr, in the same spot. She helped me make it through those first weeks. Gabe, our hunter, hit the same note when it was time for me to let him cross over. I wasn’t ready, but he was, and he let me know with that soft purr on just the right note.
So, how do you meditate with your cat? (I haven’t tried this with dogs, but please do and let us know the results!) Some are naturals…some require some guidance. Thankfully, mine have all gravitated right to it, but that may be because we make it such an intrinsic part of our household or it’s such a part of my nature, I only attract those who are inclined to be good about it too.
First, create a space for yourself that you are going to use consistently to meditate. This is a must, whether you’re trying to get your 4-legged to cooperate or not. It helps to set your subconscious up for success when you’re ready to sit down to focus. I use my couch and a cross-legged position. My body naturally falls into a receptive mode and starts to relax. My husband will meditate in bed and the cats are fine with it. (They refuse to participate if I’m in bed and meditating…instead I get the meows and the growls.) Wherever it is, make it consistent.
Next, start to introduce soft music when you’re out of the house, and they are more naturally at rest. Use harps, strings, nature sounds. Note: DO NOT USE music with BIRDS! They start stalking the CD player or the TV. I’ve watched it happen!
Next, use that same music they’ve been listening to during day for your relaxation/meditation sessions. You will see they start to quietly unwind and come to curl up next to you as your breathing evens out. Most will want to touch you in some way, so they may lie in your lap or next to you. Do NOT give in to to the need to acknowledge their presence. NO petting. If you must, lay a hand on them and keep it still. Remain focused on your meditation.
And, just breathe.
Open your eyes whenever you’re ready.
You can see our cat family at http://catklaw.com/kittens/ – this is our hidden yet dedicated site to all those who are familiar in our lives. I don’t post up often, but they are integral to our family.
For those interested in a Guided Meditation with their feline family members, please, post up! I’ll create one to share!
Featured Image Credit: larisa Stefanjuk, Shutterstock
Stacia D. Kelly, PhD, MHt takes a whole mind-body-spirit approach to health and well-being and teaches her clients to do the same. She is the Mind-Body-Fusion Specialist. Breathe. Focus. Achieve. She is a Master Certified clinical hypnotherapist, a 1st degree black belt, and spends way too much time with her nose in a book. She writes paranormal romances with a very hypnotic style and tries to inject humor in all her non-fiction writing. She plays doorman (woman) to three cats while the young one is off to school and the husband is all over the state for either the day job or a band. Stacia is also the founder of CatKlaw, Inc., a Creative Solutions Company, and Mind-Body-Spirit Works, a Holistic Health Practice.