I like to make my cats purr. Of course, I enjoying giving them pleasure but today as I had my morning petting session with one of my fur babies, I realized I’m doing this absolutely selfishly. I want the purr. I want to experience the soft vibrations and listen to the familiar comforting hum, which instantly works as a metronome for my relaxation. My breathing calms down and regulates and as I bury my entire face against his fur. I made him feel this way and he is doing the same to me. This is inter-species symbiosis of the purest form.
I only fell in love with cats three years ago even though I am a Leo born in the Year of the Tiger. All my life I suspected felines were sneaky, moody, and would ultimately kill me in my sleep. I was 39 years old when someone suggested a therapy pet to help with my anxiety challenges. My husband said, “hell no” to a dog in an apartment so he suggested a kitten, never imagining in a million years I’d agree. Three days later I had an 8-week old Russian Blue in my lap and I was won over forever.
The first time my daughter heard our gray-blue kitten purr, she said, “I think her tummy is rumbling.”
Once you hear the purr, you want more and more and more; like an imaginary cocaine. Because their purr vibrations are in the 20 to 140 Hz range, they can have therapeutic effects. The power of the purr can lower stress and blood pressure, reduce the risk of a heart attack, help heal infections and assist in healing bones. There is an old veterinary adage: “If you put a cat and a bunch of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal.”
Recently my husband read an article which verified my sneaking suspicion. Turns out, while or pets don’t actually emit a magical love spray, stroking a cat does cause a release of oxytocin in both humans and our animal companions, which is often called the “love hormone.”
This was just the justification I needed to understand why after a year of living with a “one cat to four humans” ratio, our family desperately wanted more fur per person. Two years later, we adopted twin brother kittens to spread the purr around.
Cats have been revealed to be one of life’s biggest surprises. My ignorance, from misunderstanding this complex and beautiful species, was unfounded. Yes, they can be moody, but more often they are mysterious, intelligent, resourceful, and loving. Most importantly, my three cats are naturally impeccably clean, spending as much as half their waking lives grooming themselves, their relatives and friends, which is way more than I can say for the three humans with whom I live.