Is My Cat Trying To Heal Me?

The Special Bond Between Cats and Humans

Cats and humans have co-evolved together over thousands of years (UPI, 2022). Researchers believe the human-cat relationship was first forged over 10,000 years ago as cats helped control rodent populations around early human settlements. Since then, cats have become more domesticated and differentiated from their wildcat ancestors. In fact, studies show cats are more genetically similar to humans than nearly any other non-primate mammal (American Humane, 2023). This is likely due to the thousands of years cats have lived alongside humans.

While cats are often seen as more aloof and independent than dogs, research shows domestic cats do form social relationships and attachments with their human caregivers (Modern Cat, 2021). Through daily routines and interactions like play, grooming, and mealtimes, cats develop bonds with their owners not unlike those between human friends or family members. This social relationship is an important part of the human-cat bond that has evolved over millennia.

The Purr of a Cat Can Promote Healing

A cat’s purr vibrates at a frequency of 25-150 Hertz, which happens to be a frequency that can help heal bones and reduce stress [1]. Research has shown that these vibrations can provide therapeutic benefits for humans as well. The rhythmic vibrations of a cat’s purr can help increase bone density and promote healing of fractures in humans

Studies have also found evidence that a cat’s purr can help reduce blood pressure, anxiety, and pain. The frequencies of a cat’s purr have been shown to be especially therapeutic for treating joint pain, due to their ability to stimulate bone growth and promote healing. The sound vibrations can also lower blood pressure, potentially reducing the risk of heart disease and stroke [2]. Additionally, the rhythmic and soothing nature of a cat’s purr has been demonstrated to help decrease anxiety and lessen the perception of pain.

So when a cat snuggles up to you and starts purring, it may actually be trying to help reduce your stress levels and promote healing. The special bond shared between cats and humans allows for these therapeutic effects to take place.

Cats Can Detect Illness and Injury

There are many anecdotal reports of cats detecting human illnesses and injuries before any symptoms appear. This ability is likely due to cats’ highly developed sense of smell. Cats have a much stronger sense of smell than humans, with about 14 times as many olfactory receptors in their noses. Their sense of smell is thought to be at least on par with dogs.

Some illnesses produce specific scents that cats may be able to detect. Cancer, for example, can produce cellular changes that release distinctive odors. There are many accounts of cats persistently sniffing or pawing at their owners before a cancer diagnosis. Cats may also be able to smell biochemical changes in the body that occur before the onset of a seizure.

Cats can detect very subtle changes. There are reports of diabetic cats alerting their owners of low blood sugar by acting strangely right before the onset of symptoms. However, the ability of cats to sniff out human diseases is not well proven scientifically. More research is needed to definitively confirm cats’ ability to detect illnesses.

While not scientifically validated, many cat owners firmly believe their cats detected a health issue before it was diagnosed. If your cat starts paying close attention to you and acting concerned, it may be worth paying attention to any unusual signals from your body and considering a medical checkup.


Cats Provide Companionship and Emotional Support

For many people struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD or other mental health issues, the companionship of a cat can be extremely comforting and therapeutic. Simply stroking a cat can release oxytocin, lower blood pressure and heart rate, and reduce overall stress and anxiety levels. According to research, the presence of a therapy cat during hospital visits can significantly reduce anxiety in patients (Purina, 2017).

The loving companionship and emotional support provided by cats is invaluable to those coping with loneliness or isolation. Cats can help their owners stick to daily routines, get more exercise, and feel less alone. Their gentle purring and affectionate nuzzling can ease anxiety and brighten even the darkest moods. For people dealing with mental illness or emotional trauma, having a cat to care for and love can provide a sense of purpose and motivation to push through difficult times. With their calming presence and unconditional love, cats make excellent emotional support animals for those in need.

Cats Help Keep Owners Active

One of the most widely recognized health benefits of having a cat is that caring for a furry companion encourages more physical activity and movement for their owners. Simply attending to a cat’s basic needs of feeding, cleaning litter boxes, brushing, and playing requires owners to get up and move around more often.

Cats are naturally playful animals that enjoy interactive playtime with toys and their owners. Playing with cats provides enjoyable exercise for both owners and pets as they chase wand toys, throw balls, or just run around the house together. The American Heart Association recommends owning a pet for the cardiovascular benefits and increased activity levels.

Studies show cat owners tend to have lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, suggesting they likely engage in more regular physical activity thanks to their feline friends. Unlike dogs that require walking outside, cats motivate activity within the home. Their playful antics and energetic personalities get owners up off the couch for fun interactive playtime. Just a few minutes a day of play with a cat can burn Calories and lead to a more active lifestyle.

So when it comes to staying active and energized, science indicates cats can be beneficial personal fitness trainers. Their need for care and desire for play encourages more physical activity for owners each day. Cats make staying active enjoyable, helping address pet parents’ exercise needs in a fun way.

Purring May Have Healing Effects on Cats Too

A cat’s own purr may provide health benefits for the cat itself. Studies have shown that the vibrations from purring can help stimulate bone density and promote healing in cats.[1] The 25-150 Hz frequency range of a cat’s purr is thought to promote tissue regeneration and fracture healing.[2]

In addition to physical healing effects, purring may also serve as a self-soothing mechanism for cats. The act of purring releases endorphins that can help relieve pain and calm anxieties. When injured or ill, cats may purr more often as a way to comfort themselves.[3] So your cat’s rumbling purr doesn’t just help you feel better, it may also be its way of helping itself heal.

Overall, the evidence suggests your cat’s soothing purr can provide healing effects for you both. When a cat purrs near you or in your lap, it may be taking advantage of the health benefits for you and itself.


Cats Can Improve Social Interactions

Owning a cat can actually help improve their owner’s social life. According to a study from Harvard, pet owners are more likely to get to know people in their neighborhood ( When cat owners take their cats outdoors on a leash or transport them to the vet, they often meet fellow cat lovers and strike up conversations. Cats can be natural ice-breakers that bring people together.

Cats have a way of lubricating social interactions – their playful and affectionate nature makes them excellent companions that put people at ease. Petting a cat can lower anxiety, and simply having a cat nearby can act as a social catalyst. Cats provide their owners an easy topic of conversation to bond over, facilitating social connections.

Potential Health Benefits of Cat Ownership

Studies have shown that owning a cat can offer potential health benefits for owners. One key area is heart health. According to research published in BMC Cardiovascular Disorders, cat owners were 30% less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than non-cat owners[1]. This reduced risk of cardiovascular disease may be thanks to the relaxing, stress-reducing presence of cats.

Having a cat has also been linked to lower stress levels, improved mood, and reduced anxiety. A study in Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that interacting with a therapy cat for just 10 minutes significantly reduced stress and negative emotions in college students[2]. The soothing purr of a cat along with its affectionate nature can calm owners and provide relief from daily stress.

Cats Help Owners Stick to Routines

Cats thrive on regular schedules and daily routines. Their lives revolve around consistent feeding times, playtime, grooming, and other activities. This can be beneficial for cat owners as well, as having a pet cat encourages sticking to a routine and adds more structure to the day.

Cats feel most comfortable when their daily activities happen at predictable times. According to veterinarians, creating a routine for your cat can help reduce stress and anxiety in kitties who prefer consistency and order (source). Cats enjoy knowing when they will be fed, played with, given attention, and have other needs met.

Having a cat depend on its owner to maintain this routine and schedule creates more stability for the owner as well. Feeding, cleaning litter boxes, grooming, playing with kitty, and fulfilling other care tasks must happen regularly. This provides a beneficial structure that can improve mental health for those who struggle with consistency and order in their lives.

The responsibility of caring for a pet cat and adhering to its preferred routine can give owners’ days more purpose and meaning. The loving companionship of a cat coupled with the healthy benefits of structure and regiment make cat ownership ideal for individuals seeking both affection and stability.

The Loving Gaze of a Cat Can Reduce Anxiety

Cats form strong bonds with their owners through eye contact and gaze. According to a study by the University of Missouri, when owners lock eyes with their cats, it activates the release of oxytocin, also known as the “love hormone.” This chemical stimulates feelings of affection and trust between cats and their owners.

Staring into a cat’s eyes can have measurable effects on an owner’s well-being. Research has shown that 10 minutes of eye contact with a cat can significantly lower a person’s blood pressure and heart rate, indicating reduced stress and anxiety. The soothing act of petting a purring cat while gazing into its eyes activates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping us relax both mentally and physically.

While cats can feel anxious about direct eye contact with strangers, they seem to understand that sustained eye contact with loved ones is a form of communication and affection. So while a cat’s stare may be intimidating to some, for their trusted human companions it is a loving gaze that can calm frazzled nerves and melt away anxiety.


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