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


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

  1. Nirmal Singh May 3, 2021 at 9:55 pm #

    When I was a young girl/teenager, I suffered from depression. I was suicidal. We had a cat – he was grey and white, incredibly soft, incredibly cuddly (and of course adorable beyond belief!) he kept me from trying to off myself several times. Only once was he not able to help me, when the depression was too severe. I don’t blame him for it. He was a good little love. My experience with cats is this – I’ve never met a cat I didn’t love. I truly do love every cat which has existed, exists, or will exist. They r all sacred precious cottony miracles.

    • Liz May 6, 2021 at 2:18 pm #

      Nirmal, “sacred precious cottony miracles”…I love it. Thank you for sharing this message, I’m so glad you had him to help protect you!

  2. George Kunnath October 21, 2020 at 3:18 am #

    I just got a kitty 3 days ago. Though growing up we had cats at home for more than 50 years I did not have a cat. I have observed amazing things in the last 3 days.First day and second day it was very restless and cranky. I felt it was going through the separation from the mother. Then it has settled down very quickly very playful by itself and while work on my laptop it clims on to my lapand stays there. Other times it walks all over me as if we have been lovers for a life time. I am learning lessons in stillness, love and spontaneity observing it. When it sits absolutely still in my lap and purrs I can feel the oneness with the whole. I would call that a healing experience.
    It is also interesting that I have been having a dialogue with a friend on mysticism and he said cats are mystical beings and the kitty arrived. Since i know almost nothing except heard that cats have healing powers, my gogle search brought me to your page. Thank you. I am exploring to find more on this.
    PS: My cat is Messi and it is watching me type sitting in my lap right now

  3. sam November 13, 2019 at 11:57 am #

    I am certain my cat healed my fractured knee. I would recline with the knee up on pillows, and the cat would lay on my thigh and encircle the knee with his head and paws. My ortho was amazed when I was healing so fast, my 14-16 weeks non-weight-bearing was reduced to only 4-5 weeks. The cat was dedicated, he purred on my leg for hours each day. Even if I put both knees up, he always chose the injured one.

    • Liz November 13, 2019 at 6:02 pm #

      Amazing, Sam. What a great cat!

  4. suzy schwandt September 15, 2019 at 5:08 pm #

    I swear my neighbors cat “healed” me last night. I was having terrible pancreatic pain with dehydration, severe nausea where I was throwing up putrid bile and was drenching in sweat but shivering. At some point I finally fell asleep and she (her name is Angel) spent the night with me, lying on my chest next to me the whole night. I woke only several times, twice I felt one of her claws peck my neck…I fell back to sleep once more and woke up to smell that putrid bile smell…i looked up at her and she had her face buried into mine for a moment. when I woke up this morning. my fever, nausea and pain were gone and she was still lying next to me and stayed with me most of the day….CAT’S can heal !!! Or so I believe.

    • Liz September 15, 2019 at 6:36 pm #

      Love this story, Suzy! (And pretty much all the stories people share here.)Thank you very much for sharing it, and I’m so glad you’re feeling better!

  5. Courtney Janke January 17, 2019 at 4:31 pm #

    I have chronic left arm pain, to the point I scream in pain with the lightest touch. However, my cat Andromeda loves to help by laying right on my arm. Magically, her body weight doesn’t bother me. As soon as I try and move her, she climbs right back on. I think it’s her way of protecting me!

  6. Holly December 21, 2018 at 7:17 am #

    I have Medullary Sponge Kidney and I have pain a lot of the time, I was having worse pain than normal this morning. I was laying on the couch crying because it was so bad, I just recently got two kittens that are about 5 months from the shelter, Kiki and Millie they were litter mates, anyways I was laying on the couch in pain and Kiki jumped up on my leg and was looking me right in the eyes and Millie laid against my stomach (where the pain was) and she was purring and I could feel the pain going away. It was very strange but I knew they had done it somehow.

    • Stew Baker December 21, 2018 at 1:24 pm #

      My cat still sleeps on my left hip and I am still pain free. Cats are mysterious and loving animals, oozing with love for their owners.

  7. 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.

  8. 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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