Category Archives: purr therapy

How Do Cats Show Their Love?

By Julia Williams

I feel sorry for people who perpetuate the myth that cats are aloof, unloving and incapable of (or disinterested in) bonding with their human(s). That’s far from the truth. I’ve had wonderful relationships with many different cats, and each has shown unequivocally that I am not merely tolerated because I dole out their CANIDAE food twice a day. Oh sure, they appreciate having good food and a warm place to sleep. We all do. But the depth of our relationship goes far beyond me being the provider of their creature comforts.

My cats cannot say “I Love You” in human words. They can’t express love by buying me presents or doing nice things for me. They may not be able to define what love is in the same way we do, but they can and do show love in their own unique ways. Here are 8 things cats do to express love.

They Want to Be Near You

When cats climb onto your lap, drape themselves over your shoulder or curl up next to you in bed, it’s not because they’re looking for body heat. They want to be with you because they love you, and they enjoy being in your company. Every night before I go to bed, I say goodnight to my cats. Annabelle is either in “her” box in the closet or one of the cat beds. Minutes later, she tucks herself in next to me, her head on my pillow and her paws over my arm.

They Comfort You

Felines make great “nurses” for two reasons. They seem to always know when you are hurting whether it’s a physical or emotional ailment. They also stay by your side to give you lots of healing purrs until you are feeling better. How can that not be a sign of love?

They Protect You

You only have to do a brief Google search to find dozens of stories of “hero cats” who saved their owners from injury or death by alerting them to carbon monoxide, fire, gas leaks and other dangerous situations. My angel-cat Binky even alerted me to the presence of a peeping Tom – she jumped on the dresser and growled until I looked out and saw the perv staring in my window!

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Ten Things Pets Can Do Better Than People

By Linda Cole

We humans have a tendency to present our species as being the most sophisticated, smartest and superior. But when it comes down to it, there are many things animals can do a lot better than we can.

1. Gripping Ability 

If you’ve ever played tug-of-war with your dog, you know how strong his grip is. The average bite force of a dog is 320 pounds per square inch. Humans have an average bite force of 120 psi. The Mastiff has the highest bite force at 552.

2. Speed

A dog running at full stride is beauty in motion. It’s almost as if they are racing the wind. The fastest human, Usain Bolt, holds the running record at 28 mph, and has an average running speed of 23 mph. But his speed isn’t even close to the fastest dog, the Greyhound, with an average speed of 40 mph and a top running speed of 45 mph. When you add endurance, humans would be gasping for breath long before most canines stopped.

3. Navigate Tight Spaces

As a lifelong cat owner, I’m constantly reminded that no matter how small an opening, never assume a curious cat can’t squeeze through it. Ultra-sensitive whiskers help a cat judge the size of an opening, and a free floating collarbone allows her to squeeze through tight openings. If the head fits, the entire body will follow just fine.

4. A Nose That Knows

The ability of dogs to pick up scents in the air is truly amazing. The canine brain is wired to process smells, and gives them a sort of “visual image” that is as vivid to them as a photograph is to us. Almost half of the dog’s brain is dedicated to analyzing scents. The average canine nose has between 125 to 300 million scent receptors to our mere 5 million.

5. Purr Therapy

An old veterinary school saying “If you put a cat and a sack of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal,” may seem farfetched, but researchers have discovered cat purrs do have a healing ability. Cats purr when they’re happy, but they also purr when injured, giving birth and even at the end of life. The feline purr is between 25 and 150 Hertz, which is the best frequency range to promote healing in feline bones and muscles, and improve bone density.

6. Radar-like Ears

Dogs track a sound by moving their ears to locate exactly where it’s coming from, and can pinpoint the source to 6/100th of a second. An average dog can hear sounds four times farther away than we can, and ten times better. Eighteen muscles in each ear gives dogs radar-like control to follow an interesting sound (like when you are opening up his favorite CANIDAE treats!). We hear sounds at 20,000 cycles per second; dogs hear sounds at 40,000 to 60,000 cycles per second.

7. Sniff Out Trouble

We’ve come a long way from the first seeing eye dog, Buddy, who made history when he safely guided his blind owner across a busy New York City intersection in 1928. Since then, we have successfully trained dogs to detect seizures, cancer, low blood sugar, peanuts (for those with allergies) and other medical conditions and possible life-threatening situations.

8. Make a Perfect Landing

A cat’s flexible spine is what allows her to twist, turn and perform acrobatic acts. Felines are born with the ability to right themselves in mid-air to make a perfect landing on their feet. The first thing a falling cat does is rotate her head, then the spine, and finally the rear legs. To soften the impact, she will arch her back. Many cats have survived falls from heights of seven stories or more. The higher the fall, the more time the cat has to right herself.

9. Super Vision

Feline eyes are designed to see in low light to locate prey. Proportionately larger than our eyes, cat eyes have super reflective cells called tapetum lucidum, which reflects light like a mirror to give rods and cones in the eye a second chance to pick up all available light. Larger eyes and the tapetum make it possible for cats to see in very low light and pick up movement, and is why their eyes glow at night.

10. Predict Earthquakes

The paw pads of dogs and cats are super sensitive, and seismologists believe some pets may be able to detect P-waves before an earthquake hits. P-waves are the fastest moving waves just before an earthquakes occurs.

Top photo by Kathleen Tyler Conklin
Middle photo by Anssi Koskinen
Bottom photo by Mark Watson

Read more articles by Linda Cole

Animals as Best Friends and Healers

By Julia Williams

If you believe what you read on the internet (sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t) the reference to dog as “man’s best friend” originated in an 1821 poem in The New-York Literary Journal. Regardless of where it came from, the saying has been quoted by countless dog lovers since. Of course, cat lovers say felines are just as worthy of the title. But why designate one or the other as humankind’s “best” friend? Dogs and cats each have their merits. And what about horses…or any other pet for that matter. Given the proven healing power of pets and all the many wonderful things they offer us, I think every animal deserves the title of best friend.

Anyone who’s ever shared a close bond with a pet has undoubtedly witnessed their natural healing abilities firsthand. Be it physical, mental or emotional healing, our pets can greatly improve our lives. There have been many reports in recent years of these remarkable healing pets — among them, dogs who can smell cancer before any medical diagnosis has been made; dogs who can alert their owners to seizures before they happen; horses who help handicapped riders develop balance, strength and confidence.

Cats and dogs are frequently used as “therapy animals” for seniors in nursing homes because they provide love and attention to those who might be feeling lonely, sad or forgotten. I know from experience that Purr Therapy can be very healing. Many prisons have dog training programs, which gives the inmates a sense of purpose and helps them deal with the depression, anxiety and tension caused by incarceration. Some prisons even have “cat care” programs to help the inmates learn to be compassionate towards all living things. It’s clear these prison programs provide a healing experience for the inmates.

The Many Health Benefits of Pets

These natural healers with wagging tails and furry coats enhance our lives in so many ways. The peaceful purring of a cat or the friendly nuzzle from a dog can calm our frazzled nerves. Stroking their soft fur is therapeutic for both body and soul; it can lower blood pressure and reduce stress, while helping us to open our hearts to love. Walking the dog and playing games with our pet provides beneficial exercise for our bodies; it also lifts our spirits and provides a respite from the stress and strain of life.

Pets can improve the quality of our life and positively influence us in so many ways. They inspire optimistic thoughts in those who are disheartened, and gently remind us how important it is to nurture not only ourselves, but others. In his book, The Healing Power of Pets, Dr. Marty Becker writes “Our beloved pets are life vitamins fortifying us against invisible threats: like seat belts cradling against life’s crashes; like alarm systems giving us a sense of security. Taken together, the healing power of pets is powerful medicine indeed.”

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Why Do Cats Make Purrfect Pets?

By Rocky Williams

As a cat, I can’t think of anyone more qualified to extol the virtues of my kind. I do, after all, have firsthand knowledge of all the things that make me (and every kitty in the world!) the greatest pet anyone could ever want. Granted, some felines persist in making sure that old stereotype of the independent cat remains alive and well, which tarnishes their own “Purrfect Pet” medal just a bit. Even so, I still believe we win paws down when compared to other, shall we say, less purrfect pets. No need to get specific, I think you all know who I mean…woof!

Size Does Matter

One thing that makes us cats awesome pets is that we are small, which means that even if you live in a teeny tiny apartment, we’ll adapt. We don’t need a yard – we can get all the exercise we need just by shredding your couch! Throw in an ottoman and some catnip toys, and we’ll worship you for life. No wait, that’s what that “other” pet does. Cats worship only one … themselves.

Our small size also means we don’t need to eat mountains of food, which is easy on your budget and your back. You can even spring for the really good stuff – that would be FELIDAE cat food and TidNips treats, naturally– and you won’t keel over from sticker shock at the pet food store.

We’re Low Maintenance

Cats are lean, mean self cleaning machines. We take our bathing duties seriously, so don’t even think about taking over for us unless you want your arms to look like they just went through the wood chipper. Training a cat consists of showing us where you want us to sleep, so we’ll know to avoid that spot at all costs. Hey, leave your sweater on the bed and you’ll always be able to find us when you come home!

The Healing Power of Purr Therapy

The Warden says nothing gets her body back into balance quicker than a contented cat on her lap, purring away. Opinion aside, there have been actual research studies done which have shown that the health benefits of owning a purring pet are real and substantial. Supplement the purr with a little biscuit making (sans claws), and you’ll be healthier and happier than you ever could’ve imagined!

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Think You Know Why Cats Purr? Maybe Not!

By Linda Cole

The sound of a cat purring on your lap makes you feel like everything is right with the world. One of my cats, Figaro, loves to sit on my shoulder. Actually, he loves to drape himself over my shoulder and hang on with his claws so he won’t fall off! Of course he starts purring as soon as he’s settled, and how can you evict a contented kitty from your shoulder?

Scientists have been looking into how and why wild and domestic cats purr, and what they’ve discovered is rather interesting. If you’re a cat owner, you most likely have figured out that your cat purrs when she’s happy, scared, sick or injured. Cats purr even at the end of life which could be anxiety or a state of euphoria. A mother cat purrs while giving birth and when she’s nursing her kittens; it’s one way she bonds with her kittens and assures them she’s not far away. Kittens begin to purr at 2 days old and hum to their mom so she knows they’re alright.

When cats are stressed, purring is a way they comfort and reassure themselves that everything is OK – sort of like when we whistle or talk to ourselves as we walk down a dark street alone at night. Purrs are one way to let other cats know they are submissive and not wanting to cause trouble. Older cats use a purr to communicate that they’re friendly and want to come closer when meeting other cats.

Members of the cat family Felidae, like the Puma, Cheetah, Mountain Lion, Bobcat and Eurasian Lynx will purr, as well. However, big cats like the Lion, Tiger, Snow Leopard and Jaguar belong to a subfamily of cats called Patherinae and can’t purr. Lions can produce a sound similar to purring, but it’s not true purring.

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