Why a Cat's Purr Can Lower Heart Attack RiskPublished March 7, 2012
I’m not surprised. Burying my face in my cat’s warm, silky fur has helped me calm down numerous times.
She may even be saving my life.
The study, a 10-year endeavor from the Stroke Research Center at the University of Minnesota looked at 4,435 Americans aged 30 to 75, and also found that cats reduce the risk of dying from other heart diseases and stroke by 30 percent.
More specifically, it could be a cat’s purr that’s putting hearts at ease.
Animal behavior consultant Steve Dale told the Chicago Tribune that cats use their purr as a calming mechanism to communicate with their kittens. “They’ll purr when they’re content, but they’ll also purr when they’re about to be euthanized.”
In that way, they may be communicating with us as well.
This animal connection, Dale explained, "alters our neurochemistry.” Our cats are helping us relax just like they do their own kittens.
I’ve often dismissed the idea of my tiny black cat mothering me as being silly. But I have thought about it.
For instance, when I’m particularly stressed, I have the less than delightful habit of of shooting up out of a deep sleep, gasping for breath, caught somewhere between a bad dream and my warm bed.
At these times my cat shimmers into existence without fail. She hears me and hops up to my lap from her own warm sleeping spot, purring away. She anchors me in my safe reality then helps me quickly fall back to sleep.
Thinking about this simple, but vital ritual of ours makes that 40 percent seem a lot less astounding, and the fact that not everyone has a cat more so.
If you’ve been considering adopting a cat, you might be saving two lives.
Has your cat ever calmed you down with a purr?