The Healing Power Of A Cat's Purr

While reading a recent post by Ande Waggener on Up From Splat about the guidance of animals, When Guidance Trots, Slithers, Crawls, or Flies Up To You, I started thinking about the amazing power of animals to help us heal spiritually and physically.  I know that mine were a big part of my recovery from a serious brain injury resulting from a suicide attempt.

At the time of the injury, I was a one cat, one dog household.  Soon after trying to kill myself, I lost custody of my children, was alone for the first time in my life, mentally impaired, emotionally distraught, and badly in need of companionship.  After visiting the local animal shelter, I brought home a little gray and white kitten who had chosen me with his affectionate antics and named him Smoky. On the way home, I stopped and picked up kitten food, his necessary toiletries, and more squeaky and jingle toys than he would ever need.

Smoky fit right into our family, and being overly affectionate, he became my lap cat and shadow.  Smoky had the loudest purr I’ve ever heard –  I mean rattle-the-windows loud – and slept with me every night.  Positioning himself on my pillow, curled around my head, he would purr us both to sleep the first year of my recovery.

I was amazed to later find out that there are many indications that the vibrational frequency of a cat’s purr could provide healing and perhaps even health protection benefits not only for cats but for humans as well. A cat’s purr is typically between 25-150 hetzertz.  This range has been shown to aid in the healing of bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles as well as providing pain relief and decrease breathing problems. In studies, low decibel frequencies, similar to that of a cat’s purr, have been proven to speed healing.

It’s widely believed that cats purr to show contentment, but cats also purr when giving birth or frightened or injured suggesting that it has some kind of survival and healing benefit for them as well.

Later, a psychic intuitive told me that Smoky manifested some of my deceased brother’s energy.  I loved the idea that maybe Chris had found a way to comfort me and be a part of my healing process both emotionally and physically.

Smoky disappeared, and despite an exhaustive search, I never found him.  I like to think he came, did what he needed to do, and left, when he knew that I was OK and could handle things from there.

Over the next year or so, I acquired five more cats.  Yes, five.  My friend’s cat had a litter of kittens, and I promised to take one.  “How about two?” she said.   So, two calico sisters, so tiny they both fit into one hand, joined my furry family.  About a year later, I made the mistake of going into a Petsmart on a Saturday morning when they were having an adoption fair. Spying an adorable kitten that was a Garfield look-alike, I indicated that “I’ll take the orange tabby.”  The volunteer worker replied, “He goes with the black and white one.” Thinking to myself, “What’s one more when you’ve already got five?”  I took a big breath and said “OK.”  They are best buds, and I’m so glad I brought the second one home.

Not even a week later, I was walking the dog around the block in my neighborhood, and this little, gray and white kitten saunters out from under a bush and walks right up to my dog and I in the middle of the street.  She didn’t have a collar, but wasn’t malnourished or dirty like a stray and wasn’t the least bit timid.  Despite putting up posters, contacting shelters and nearby vets offices, no one claimed her.  So, I got her a collar and her shots, and she joined the menagerie.

I certainly didn’t need another cat, but how could I turn her away?  I named her Smoky II. Maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part, but I do believe she is somehow connected to the first Smoky.  The way she came to be with me is just too uncanny.  She is the craziest, spunkiest cat I have ever known – more like a dog –  and keeps me laughing.

I’m up to six cats and one dog, and even though I do get tired of scooping litter boxes and fur everywhere, I wouldn’t have it any other way  I’ve convinced myself that the title of the crazy, cat lady has a certain eccentric charm and flair!  🙂

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  1. I totally get how this can happen. I had five cats myself once during a painful period between marriages. All rescues, either by shelter or ones that came up to me. I’ve never purchased an animal, but there always seem to be at least a couple around, and most have been cats.
    I didn’t know that about purr frequency, but it makes sense to me.

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Oh…so this is some eccentric, single thing, ya think? I have to say that having the animals around is a lot easier and enjoyable than my past relationships…but a lot hairier! 🙂

  2. Ande Waggener Reply

    I love this post, Debbie! Thanks for the link to my post on animal guidance!! I appreciate it. And I love hearing about how your kitties found their way into your life. I have no doubt that they’ve played a big role in your healing. Animals have extraordinary power to guide and heal us!

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      I know that you know firsthand with your beloved Ducky how pets become an important part of your life. My crew is my family and provide me with so much love and companionship. Perhaps, we need to take a look at the power of the bark!

  3. Debbie,

    I couldn’t resist this post. Last year we adopted to 6 week-old kittens who had been living in the wild, saving them from the pound. When my husband went away on an extended trip a few weeks later, he always joked that the cats were taking care of me rather than the other way around.

    I loved reading about the healing power of the purr! I’m not surprised. I’ve also read that a cat’s energy vibrates in the opposite direction of a humans and this is said to be very healing for humans. I love these kitties immensely and we also acquired a third adult stray. We are resisting any more additions as best we can!

    I could never sleep with our cats. They would keep me awake all night! They live mostly outside, but do come in for meals and love fests.

    Great story, I’m glad you found love and healing with your furry friends.

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      I have no doubt that it was a reciprocal “taking care of” with you and your kitties. I believe, it is like any other situation in that in helping others we benefit.

      Not all of my animals sleep with me now, but enough do that I get pinned down under the covers with them positioned on top and find it almost impossible to move my legs at times. When I do, Smoky scampers after them!

  4. Hi, Debbie,

    I liked your comment on Sandra’s blog, so I popped over for a visit. Love the title/subtitle of your blog, and even more so now that I’ve read a bit of your story. I look forward to reading more.

    As for me, I love puppies. I think I have gotten the same healing comfort from my canine buddies as you describe. My almost 13 year old dog sleeps with me every night, even though she snores! Not as nice as purring!!


    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Thanks for stopping by, Galen, and or the kind words. Always welcome! I have a nine year old dog which sleeps with me and snores (loudly) as well. He also growls whenever I move under the sheets in “his territory.” There is this invisible boundary which extends about 5 inches beyond him that is his domain and no one is allowed to infringe upon it. I agree, a cat purring is much preferable, but they are not near as much fun to go running with! 🙂

  5. I was really touched by your story, Debbie (and a cat lady after my own heart 🙂 Wish you all the best in your future endeavours – big hugs to your fluffies x

    • Debbie Hampton Reply

      Susan, thank you for the kind words and the hugs for the furry ones!

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