Just the sound of a purring cat can have an immediate calming effect. As if kitty is saying, without a word, that everything will be ok in the world. Cats also purr as a form of communication, both cat to cat and cat to human. Some feel that a cat’s purr has medicinal properties and even the ability to heal. Exactly, what is this mysterious sound and what powers does it hold?
Exactly how cats purr has been a subject of many theories over the years but research has shown that the sound is produced from the vibrations of the muscles surrounding the vocal cords. Purrs begin when the brain sends messages to these muscles, causing the vibrations and the resulting sound. Whether this begins as a voluntary or involuntary response is still a subject of debate.
Mom cats use their purr as a form of communication to their newborn kittens. Forming a bond between mother and child, moms cat’s purrs allows sightless newborns to be able to locate her belly to nurse. As young kittens knead their mom’s belly with their paws and purr it is a comforting and bonding experience. As kittens grow, they carry this memory into adulthood and when they need to calm and comfort themselves, they will recreate this experience on a soft, fuzzy surface. I believe cats also pull on this memory at times when they sense that the humans in their lives are stressed or unhappy. My kitties always seem to know when I need a little comfort or encouragement and they are always there with a happy, calming purr to make things seem a little better.
Do cats use their purr to get attention? My large tabby cat Tiger has mastered this as a use for his purr. Not an overly affectionate cat, there will be times when he wants some some scratches on his neck and a rub under his chin. When I hear his loud, boisterous purr I know what he is seeking. And loud he is – I often wonder exactly what is the decibel level of his purr.
Many believe that if you share your life with a cat you will have less stress. Naturally calming, petting a kitty has been known to lower stress levels and blood pressure. Sit with a purring kitty on your lap and any tension you feel quickly fades. Cats can also be very humorous and often the things they do and will easily bring a smile to your face or even full out laughter, the best therapy of all.
A cat’s purr is one of the best therapies and they are always willing to jump on a lap and provide smiles, joy, and laughter. The special power of the kitty and the power is in their purr.