Thursday, January 2, 2014

Here Kitty, Kitty...!

Did you know that cats can good for your health? I didn't either!

Tricky little buggers that they are, cats have a way of getting under your skin when they want something. Believe me, having 5 of them I know what I'm talking about! Besides, this article from KnowledgeNuts backs me up!

Cats Don’t Just Purr When They’re Happy
By Debra Kelly on Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Most people associate a purring cat with one comfortably curled up on the lap of someone who’s petting her. But cats will also purr when they’re scared or in pain, bringing up the question of why the same sound is made in such opposite circumstances. The answer might lie in the frequency of the cat’s purr, and the comforting, healing ability associated with it. The frequency of a cat’s purr is the same frequency that heals broken bones and muscles, making it likely that cats have an ulterior motive in their purring, too.

Cats can purr because they have amazing control over the muscles in their larynx. When their laryngeal muscles twitch, this pulls their very stiff vocal cords apart and causes the sound of purring as they breathe in and out. Most of us are familiar with the happy, content cat purring away on someone’s lap, but cats also purr when they’re scared, upset, or injured. Cats will often purr when they’re in a stressful situation like waiting in the vet’s office, or when confronted with a scary new creature.

So why do they make the same sound in completely opposite situations?

While no cats are telling, scientists have made some educated guesses—and it starts with what’s hidden inside the sound of a cat’s purr.

Since the purr is generated by the cat’s breathing, it’s a sound with a regular rhythm. It also has a frequency that’s somewhere between 25 and 150 Hertz. Scientists don’t think that’s a coincidence.

That’s the same frequency that has been found to encourage healing in bones and muscles, and it might explain why injured cats purr—they’re helping their own body to heal. And as an added bonus, since the purring sound is generated by their own breath, it’s a very low-energy form of therapy. And oddly enough, it’s not just beneficial for the cat. The University of Minnesota Stroke Center has found that people who own a cat or two are as much as 40 percent less likely to have a stroke; it’s thought that the calming effects of having a cat around, coupled with the healing properties of the purr, might have something to do with that.

Not all cats can purr; those that can roar can’t purr (due to the different structure of their vocal cords). But a variety of cats can purr, not just your domestic housecat. Cheetahs, ocelots, and other “small” big cats can also purr, and recordings of their sounds have shown that they have the same frequency. This gives credence to the theory that they’re not just purring for you.

So why do they purr when they’re happy?

This is where they turn into the manipulative little creatures they have a reputation for being. Researchers at the University of Sussex have gone a bit farther in examining just what the sound of a purr is, and they’ve found something surprising. Inside the 25–150 Hertz range of the purr is another sound—namely, a hidden cry that registers between 220 and 520 Hertz.

As a comparison, that’s a frequency very similar to the cries of a human baby.

Purring is an important part of cat communication from the time they’re kittens, purring at their mother for attention. And they might be doing the same to you, hiding a rather annoying plea for attention and more petting deep inside the sound of their more pleasant, calming, and therapeutic purr. It makes them extremely hard to ignore, and pretty much guarantees that you’ll keep doing whatever you’re doing to make them happy.

Some cats have been known to purr when they want to be fed as well. This secret purr might be the reason they’re so hard to ignore when they wake you up in the morning for their breakfast.

Any pet owner will tell you that most animals have a way of communicating with their caregivers. Doesn't really matter if it's a dog or a cat, they communicate with us all the same! Haven't you ever been talking to your pet and suddenly realize that they are watching you as though they understand exactly what you are talking about? You have, haven't you!

Coffee in the kitchen again this morning. How about some nice pumpkin pie?


Chickenmom said...

Never had a cat Mr. Hermit, but I sometime hear (don't laugh) my chickens purr when they are content.
Usually when they are in the nest boxes or taking a dust bath. Even the rooster does it!
Getting ready for another snowstorm - pumpkin pie is just perfect for today!

linda m said...

I don't have a cat either but do work with rabbits at the local animal shelter. And I swear I have heard them purr when I am sitting with them and petting them. Petting the rabbits seems to be very therapeutic for me as well as the rabbits. Coffee and pumpkin pie sounds great; I'll bring the whipped cream.

Hermit Ladee said...

I have six dogs, but only one cat. Although I appreciate the little kitties, I've never been able to understand them. Even after your informative article, they are still a mystery to me. :-)

JO said...

Interesting, I had a few cats when the kids were little but we all had allergies and couldn't keep them.

Coffee and pumpkin pie sounds wonderful but under the weather and don't want to spread it around better hang out here.

Mamahen said...

We have 4 catsvn two small dogs. The dogs are my "girls" and the kitties are" Tom's toms". We love them all but sometimes we wonder if they will be "the reason for" a stroke or heart attack lol....Hope you saved me a slice of pumpkin pie....I'm on my way :))

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
I do believe that any animal can make their care takers pay attention, one way or another!

The connections just can't be denied!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Linda M...
There is a therapeutic benefit to having animals around, IMHO!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Hermit Ladee...
Half the fun with cats is the air of mystery that they bring to the table!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Jo...
I think I have enough for you and me both!

I hope you get better soon!

Thanks for dropping in, sweetie!

HermitJim said...

Hey Mamahen...
My cats seem to help calm me down a bit. I tend to get angry at the craziness going on around, but the cats can snap me out of the funk fairly quickly!

Thanks for the visit today!

blondie said...

Just wanted to stop by and say Happy New Year Jim.
Hope this year brings us everything we want and need.
Cheers :)