Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Theraputic Purr

If you've ever had a purring cat curl up next to you, you know how soothing the sound and gentle vibrations can be. But certainly cats don't purr for our benefit. No self-respecting feline would exert energy simply to please its human. At the Fauna Communications Research Institute  in North Carolina, scientists believe that the cat's purr acts as a self-mending mechanism, encouraging bones, ligaments and organs to heal quicker and grow stronger. 

Cats purr when content but also when distressed, ill, injured or birthing. Not just house cats but most big cats are purrers. Since a certain amount of energy is required to purr, the theory goes, an injured or ailing animal is unlikely to exert that energy unless it was getting some benefit from it. According to Elizabeth von Muggenthaler, president of Fauna Communication Research Institute,. the frequency at which cats purr is the best frequency for bone growth, fracture healing and tendon mending. 

Supposedly, the purr acts as a low-impact exercise program for the often-idol feline. Cats in nature are excellent and efficient hunters, using only a small fraction of their day to catch and consume their prey. This leaves them plenty of leisure time which they usually spend in various stages of lounging. How convenient, how genetically advantageous it would be if such a marathon napper is truly able to stimulate bone growth and muscle strength even while at rest, just by purring.

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