Friday, June 13, 2014

Purrrrr? Do you feel better?

I was surfing through Pinterest, and came upon the following photo. Now, I'm a crazy cat lady, but I was skeptical if this was true. So I decided to try and find a paper.

"Recent research has shown that the soothing sounds of a kitty can aid your body in a number of ways, greatly counteracting any heartache that comes from your cat ignoring you." Source.
Never has an article spoken such true words. That being said, many articles continue claiming cats heal you, but every one of them cited other articles that cited other articles, and never of the actual research paper they spoke of. This article then cited the following article from Death and Taxes Magazine. Watta title. 

I know from my experience that cats help lower my stress, especially when you have 3. I'd like to add that even just looking at adorable cat pictures helps reduce stress, especially chunky ones. Like the ones in the delightfullychubby subreddit (which I highly recommend you check out). 

I found this site, purring.org. Yes, it is real. They have a few papers and several videos and MP3 recordings of domestic cats and cheetahs purring. But I didn't find anything supporting our big question. Nonetheless, I thought it was cool to see this man's work dedicated to felid (cat) purring. 

I couldn't find a paper supporting their claims. But I did find this related paper in which a 1Hz frequency on the tibias of rabbits provided measured improvement in bone strength. But still not what I'm looking for.

Then I found this site, a fellow crazy cat lady who provides an excerpt of a magazine article related to the cat's purr, titled  "Secret Sounds That Heal", written by Paula Peterson, who then goes out to interview Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler, a research scientist and bio-acoustic specialist. Apparently Muggenthaler published a paper titled The felid purr: A healing mechanism? but I can't for the life of me find the full paper, only the abstract. Oddly, even Web of Science found no records of the paper, nor records of the author.

So overall, I couldn't find direct evidence for all the claims in the photos. Therefore we should always take infographics with a grain of salt, and always check the sources. As much as I wanted all these claims to be true. But, I will say that cats can help lower stress. Granted, you're not allergic to them or have had any bad experiences with them, then on that hand I believe it will increase you stress. But I'm no doctor, so don't take my word for it. 

And now I end this with a photo of my cat sleeping inside a Chipotle bag. Enjoy.

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