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The Healing Power of Purring

The Healing Power of Purring

I had a trooper of a cat who lived with me for a whopping 20 years. She had a special talent for sensing when I was sick or blue, and would lay extended, purring, on my chest. It always made me happy and feel better somehow. I assumed it was just my emotional response to her affection, but as it turns out there may be more to the story. In The Cat Behavior Answer Book (Storey Publishing, 2007), author Arden Moore talks about the power of purring.

Moore says that recent studies have validated that hanging around a contented, purring cat can drop a human’s high blood pressure to within normal range, decrease stress, conquer feelings of loneliness, and even bolster self-confidence. About 65 percent of American households have pets, but we are just realizing the power our pets possess in helping us to heal emotionally, physically, and mentally. Scientists are also discovering that cats and other cherished pets possess special healing powers that help fight disease and cope with chronic conditions.

In his book the Healing Power of Pets, veterinarian Marty Becker describes the biochemical impact pets have on their owners’ body chemistry. He interviewed numerous medical experts who provided the results of many scientific studies that support a biological basis for what we’ve felt intuitively–that people can be healthier by interacting positively with pets. For example, the mere act of petting your cat can lower your blood pressure.

Some medical doctors even recommend “pet prescriptions” to their patients who are alone and need companionship. That’s because physicians have discovered that a family pet can actually motivate some patients to give their best effort when dealing with serious illness such as cancer. Having a pet to care for and feed can stimulate ailing individuals to take better care of themselves.

Here are three easy ways to tap into the healing power of your feline companion:

1. Spend some time each day just looking at, listening to, and talking with your cat. This helps release those “feel-good” biochemicals that help you relax.

2. Rub your cat the right way. Learn to give your pet a therapeutic massage for some one-on-one time that will soothe both of you.

3. Engage in purposeful play with your cat and you might discover that you can let go of daily stress more easily, breathe more deeply, and laugh more freely.

Read more: Behavior & Communication, Pets, Stress, , , , ,

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Melissa Breyer

Melissa Breyer is a writer and editor with a background in sustainable living, specializing in food, science and design. She is the co-author of True Food (National Geographic) and has edited and written for regional and international books and periodicals, including The New York Times Magazine. Melissa lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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12:56PM PST on Feb 18, 2013

Uwielbiam mruczenie kotów. moje koty pomagają mi rozprostować zastane kości po nocy i to w bardzo przyjemny sposób - po prostu głaszcząc koty.

11:23AM PDT on Sep 13, 2012

good tips

6:58PM PDT on May 11, 2012

Ah yes, I know the calming effect of purring very well. :0)

5:51PM PDT on May 10, 2012

My cats have always made me feel better in so many ways. I love to hear the sound of their purring and both of them sound different. I can't imagine my life without my 2 girls.

4:56AM PDT on May 10, 2012

My cat always made me feel better

10:47AM PDT on May 9, 2012

Purring, the sound of relax.

5:42PM PDT on May 8, 2012


5:22PM PDT on May 8, 2012


8:29PM PDT on May 15, 2011

When I was recovering from surgery from an ulcer, my cat, for the first time, came up on the bed, got next to my stomach and slept there, purred there and didn't leave for long until I was up and feeling better

9:35AM PST on Jan 8, 2011

i just read this and whenever someone is feeling sick like i am today. my cat, an american bobtail so she is the one who picks her owner and she is a purr machine! but because we have such a good connection she hasnt left my side all of today! and this morning she laid on my chest and started purring and now i dont feel as bad as i did before

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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