Do cats have healing powers? Research says yes

The doctor is IN

Series: This is part 2 of a series called Cat time is good for you.

Believe it or not, our sweet-bundles-of-fur are probably saving us a bundle in medical bills.

Wait til you hear all this…

While cats in particular have healing powers, research on pet companionship in general is also impressive.

According to research discussed in this news report, people with pets save the Australian health service about $880 million per year and save Germany about $6.6 billion per year. The research found that people with pets:

  • need fewer visits to their doctor each year
  • have fewer sleeping difficulties
  • are less likely to need heart condition medicine

I was really excited about some research I found on cats in particular…

Cats may reduce heart attack risk by 40%

While a study showed that both cats and dogs  reduced stress-related blood pressure more than ace inhibitor medication, a study at the University of Minnesota found that cats in particular may reduce your chances of a heart attack by 40%.

The study, which looked at 4,435 Americans aged 30 to 75, showed that those who did not have a cat had a 40% higher risk of having a heart attack and a 30% greater risk of dying from other heart diseases than those who have or have had a cat.

I was diagnosed with a heart arrhythmia many years ago. That’s a crazy erratic, racing heartbeat that happens periodically in varying degrees of intensity and threat.

I did not have a cat at the time. A bit later I lived with cats again and a bit later I stopped having arrhythmia. Didn’t think much of it.

Fast forward many years to when my only cat, Bastet, was dying. I started having bouts of terrible heart arrhythmia symptoms. After she died it got worse–and by worse I mean nearly constant.

It stopped the day we brought home two new purring youngsters named Phil and Joel. The arrhythmia disappeared that day and hasn’t returned since. Were there other factors that may have affected my heart arrhythmia in these cases? Probably. But the timing of the healing was uncanny.

What’s at the root of a cat’s healing power?

There’s certainly some mystery as to exactly how cats and dogs manage to be good for our health. So far my investigation has uncovered these research nuggets about the healing power of kitty cats:

  • Stress symptoms are lowest in people with cats

In a study by Dr. June McNicholas, stress symptoms were lowest in cat owners, second lowest in dog owners, and highest in people without pets.

  • Purring heals—a lot of things!

The Fauna Communications Research Institute found that every cat in their study created purr vibrations within a range known be medically therapeutic (25-150 Hz). This frequency is therapeutic for:

    • bone growth and healing
    • pain relief
    • swelling reduction
    • wound healing
    • muscle growth and repair
    • tendon repair
    • joint mobility
    • dyspnea (shortness of breath) relief

Wow!

Other good news about having an animal friend at home

  • Having a pet reduces your risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer by about 33%! The longer you have pets, the less likely you are to develop lymphoma.
  • People with pets live longer according to the Merck Veterinary Manual
  • Pets are good for your mental health: One example is another study by Dr. June McNicholas of the University of Warwick. Her research showed that seniors had less depression and psychological distress if they had a pet.

Well, this has been humbling! Excuse me while I go see what little Phil and Joel are up to.

Do you suspect a cat helped you heal?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the Comments below.

Onward to Part 3, where I’ll look at an easy healing meditation technique that you can do with your cat. I tested it with a biofeedback device.

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53 Responses to Do cats have healing powers? Research says yes

  1. peacelily2017 December 2, 2018 at 9:10 pm #

    Hi, I’m in UK. I’m currently suffering from anxiety and depression. My huge boy Ambrose is constantly coming to find me to make sure I’m ok. He’s on the bed now. He’s such a comfort, I don’t know what I’d do without him. I’m off work at the moment due to the above conditions and have had suicidal thoughts BUT my husband who’s a mental health nurse is perfectly happy to leave me alone each day when he goes to work as he knows that Ambrose will look after me.

  2. ann slominski August 11, 2018 at 9:40 pm #

    I have a lot of pain in my hip. I have 1 cat and 2 kittens that lately will lay accessed my bad hip and purr loudly. Ever since they started doing this the pain is less and less every day. My boyfriend thinks it has to do with there purring.

    • Stew Baker August 12, 2018 at 9:55 am #

      Hi Ann, My cat sleeps with its upper body on my left hip every night. She is like a furry hot water bottle or heating pad. That has kept my hip pain free for three years. PS If you want to see something interesting about cat communication, go to YouTube “8 ways your cat communicates with you.” Take care.

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