purring

Mews and Nips: Do Cats Purr When Humans Aren’t Around?

cat-purring

Purring is usually considered a sign of contentment, but there’s more to a cat’s purr than meets the ear. Purring can be a sign of happiness, but there are other reasons why cats purr. I came across a fascinating article this week that explores all aspects of purring, from how the sound is generated, to the different kinds of purrs, and the different reasons why cats purr. Read Do Cats Purr When Humans Aren’t Around on The Conversation.

If you missed any of the stories featured on the Conscious Cat this week, here’s a recap:Continue Reading

Meet the cat with the world’s loudest purr

Smokey_the_purring_cat

A 12-year-old cat in England holds the Guinness World Record for the “Loudest Purring Cat.” Smokey, a silver tabby with striking markings, was adopted by Ruth Adams about three years ago, when Adams was looking for an older cat who would be content with staying mostly indoors. Smokey greeted Adams as soon as she stepped into her cage at the shelter, walking toward her with her tail held high, rubbing against her legs, and purring. Very loudly.

Smokey, and her shy black companion Sooty, quickly settled into the Adams’ home. And Smokey kept on purring. “Her purr resembles a cooing dove stuck in her throat,” says Adams. “Sometimes she purrs so loudly it makes her cough and splutter.”

Just how loud is Smokey’s purr? Continue Reading

Ruby’s Reflections: sometimes a girl just needs a hug

hugging cat

Hi everyone, it’s Ruby! Today, I want to tell you about hugging. I just discovered it, and it’s so nice! Well, I guess I didn’t just discover it: Mom hugs me all the time. But until recently, I’ve never hugged her back. Don’t get me wrong, I love it when she hugs me. I purr, and rub my face against her arms, and sometimes, I get so excited from being hugged, I roll over on my back. But in all that time, I never tried hugging her back.

Until last week. I was sitting on Mom’s lap while she was working away at the computer, and even though it was nice and cozy, I was feeling a little ignored. So I sat up, and looked up at Mom. When she still didn’t stop typing, I stretched myself as tall as I could! Then I leaned against her, rubbed my head against her neck, and reached my paws up. That did  it. She stopped typing, and hugged me back. You can see from the smile on her face that she really liked being hugged by me!Continue Reading

What is purring?

tortoiseshell_cat_on_chair

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.

Researchers at Fauna Communications found that the frequency of a cat’s purr covers the same frequencies that are therapeutic for bone growth and fracture healing, pain relief, reduction of swelling, wound healing, muscle growth and repair, tendon repair, and mobility of joints. It seems that with the purr, nature provided cats Continue Reading

Flash the therapy cat brings joy to nursing home residents

therapy_cat

Research has shown that cats have healing powers. Not only does petting a cat lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart attack, the cat’s purr can actually heal muscles, tendons and bones. Those of us who share our lives with cats don’t need research studies to prove that a purring cat in our lap or by our side can make all the world’s problems seem a little bit less daunting.

Some cats share these healing powers with a wider audience than just their human family members. Therapy cats bring comfort and joy to nursing home residents and others who are unable to keep their own pets. They provide a much needed break in the daily routine for facility residents and staff alike.

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The most famous nursing home catContinue Reading

Cats are good for your health

 cat at window

In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports of cats who could detect serious illness in their humans, and who even saved their humans’ lives. We previously reported on a woman in Wisconsin whose newly adopted cat alerted a family member that she was having a seizure. There’s a cat in England who “diagnosed” her human’s breast cancer before doctors found it, and a cat in Virginia who saved her human from dying from a brain aneurism.

Several studies have shown dogs’ ability to distinguish people with both early and late cancers from healthy controls. It is believed that dogs can identify VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) that are present in a person’s breath who has cancer. Seizure dogs alert their owners to an impending epileptic seizure; how dogs do this is a mystery, but some trainers and researchers think they detect subtle changes in human behavior or scent before an episode occurs. I have not found any research done with cats, but I don’t think it’s too much of a leap to assume that cats would be as sensitive to changes in a human’s body chemistry as dogs – if not more so.

Cats and their humans often mirror each others’ physical and emotional states.Continue Reading

Talking cats

tortoiseshell-cats-talking

One of the primary ways cats commuicate is through body language, but they also express themselves vocally. And most cat’s vocal expressions go far beyond just “meow.”

Even though I have no scientific evidence, in my experience, when it comes to being talkative, tortoiseshell cats have most other cats beat. Buckley was one of the most vocal cats I’ve ever come across. She had a range of expression from an almost silent meow to a very loud, demanding cry that almost approached a scream. I often heard her meowing or chattering somewhere in the house. At first, I always went looking for her, concerned that maybe something was wrong. I soon realized that she just loved to “talk.” It was almost as if she felt compelled to provide a running commentary on her activities:  “I think I’ll go in the bedroom now.”  “Oh, maybe I’ll jump up on the window perch. That looks like fun.”  “Oh, look! There’s a big blue bird by the feeder!”  It seemed that her constant delight at everything in her life needed to be expressed out loud.Continue Reading

Conscious Cat Sunday: purging can make you purr

 cat-on-desk

No, not that kind of purging! What I’m talking about is purging your space of things that no longer serve you. While the picture above shows my desk as cluttered as it ever gets (and no, I do not consider Ruby part of the clutter!), I’m not as good with other spaces in my home, especially the inside of closets. And just because you can close the door on it doesn’t mean it’s not clutter.

I recently went through a couple of weeks of clearing out clutter – everything from books that I know I won’t ever read again to trinkets that no longer have sentimental value and are just gathering dust. In the process, I realized how good it felt to purge. Why, if I was a cat, I just might have been purring.

I was talking to a friend about this, and she pointed out to me that the word “purging” and the word “purr” share the same root. Continue Reading

Research Says Cats Have Healing Powers

tabby cat sunset

Guest post by Liz Eastwood

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:

  • Stress symptoms are lowest in people with cats

In a study by Dr. June McNicholas, stress symptoms were lowest in cat owners, second lowest in dog owners, and highest in people without pets.

  • Purring heals—a lot of things!

The Fauna Communications Research Institute found that every cat in their study created purr vibrations within the range that is medically therapeutic (20-140 Hz) for:

  • bone growth and healing
  • pain relief
  • swelling reduction
  • wound healing
  • muscle growth and repair
  • tendon repair
  • joint mobility
  • dyspnea (shortness of breath) relief

Wow!

Other good news about having an animal friend at home

Well, this has been humbling!

Excuse me while I go see what Phil and Joel are up to.

Liz Eastwood is a writer and holistic nutritionist and the author of the Natural Cat Care Blog where she shares tips, insights and the joy of soul companion cats.

Image: Morguefile