by Bonney Brown
There is nothing quite like the sound of a contented cat purring. Their unique and beautiful music has always seemed soothing to me, dating back to when I was a little girl and I would put my ear against our tolerant cat’s side to enjoy the sound up close.
Most cats purr when they are happy, when they are relaxing or while they are being stroked by their special person—some purr while they are enjoying a meal. Veterinarians will tell you that cats may also purr when they are distressed, perhaps as a way to soothe themselves. Mother cats often purr while nursing their kittens, which must be a calming sound for the babies.
People who love cats often feel that their companionship provides emotional support. This week, I came across some interesting information about the physical benefits of a cat’s purr. It turns out that their purring vibrations have a therapeutic effect on nearby humans as well as other cats.
Cats purr in the range of 20-140 hertz (the measurement we use for sound wave frequencies) which reduces stress responses in humans. Stress is harmful to our immune system and makes us more susceptible to a variety of health problems. The vibration of a cat’s purr has other specific health benefits too, including decreasing symptoms of dyspnea (shortness of breath), reducing swelling and promoting healing in soft tissue and bones. Frequencies of 25 to 50 hertz are optimal for strengthening bones and 100 to 200 hertz is the second most beneficial range.
A recent study at the University of Minnesota Stroke Research Center followed 4,435 people for a decade to look at the medical benefits of cats. The study showed that people without cats and those who never had cats were at a 40 percent greater risk of dying from a heart attack and at a 30 percent greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
In addition to the proven health benefits, the companionship of a cat is just plain enjoyable—from their delightful, amusing play to their calm blood-pressure-lowering presence as they nap nearby.
So please consider going down to your local shelter this weekend to adopt. Not only will you feel especially good about giving a loving home to a cat in need, you’ll be adding your very own little purring, healing companion to your life – medical therapy at a bargain price.
Events that Help Animals
Hot August Pets Adoption Promotion through August 11 at Nevada Humane Society. $5 for adult cats and $50 for adult dogs. Kittens are $35 or two for $60. 2825 Longley Ln, Reno. 11:00am to 6:30pm daily and 10:00am to 6:30pm Saturdays.
Duck Race & Festival August 25, 11 am to 5 pm at Wingfield Park. Adopt a rubber duck for $5, help homeless pets at Nevada Humane Society. You may win a Las Vegas Vacation, Sierra Golf Getaway, Dine around Reno-Tahoe Package, and a chance to win a $400,000 cash prize! Visit NevadaHumaneSociety.org.