My cats love to be petted. Every night as I write my blog posts they both grace me with their presence. Cinco loves to be in my lap every chance he can get. I’m pretty sure that he would attach himself to me if it were possible. Manna on the other hand has no fixed position – just anywhere within arm’s reach. On Cinco and Manna’s end, the benefits of petting a cat are pretty obvious: the petting and scratching feels good and it is a form of attention that they are receiving. As it turns out, there are a lot of benefits for humans in petting a cat too!
The Power of the Purr
One common response that a cat has to being petted is purring. These soft, gentle vibrations are music to any cat lover’s ears. If you’re like me, those purrs could lull you into a peaceful sleep! Not only are purrs pleasant, but they are also scientifically proven to be beneficial to your health.
The vibrations of a purr vary in frequency between 20 Hz and 140Hz. Studies have found that vibrations within this range are right on target for stimulating the release of the body’s natural anti-inflamatories (reducing joint pain and swelling) and promoting the healing and strengthening of bones, ligaments and muscles . The best frequencies for healing a bone are 25 Hz and 50 Hz followed closely by 100 Hz and 200 Hz.
Petting a Cat Relieves Depression & Anxiety
Feeling depressed? Petting a cat might just be the solution for you! No pills to take and no unpleasant side effects! The physical interaction of petting a cat stimulates the production of some very important mood-elevating chemicals in your body : Seretonin, Dopamine, Prolactin, and Oxytocin.
- Seretonin is a chemical that is often found to be lacking in people suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. It controls mood, social behavior, memory, sexual desire and function, and sleep.
- Dopamine is part of the human brain’s reward system – it is the chemical that makes people feel high when they use an illegal drug like cocaine. When structures that either create or receive dopamine in the brain are damaged, the person has difficulty finding anything to be enjoyable.
- Prolactin is a hormone that helps stimulate milk producing glands in pregnant women.
- Oxytocin is known as the “cuddle hormone” because it makes you feel a sense of trust and a connection to others. It also causes relaxation and gives relief from anxiety. There is some proof that an increase of Oxytocin can help lessen the effects of Autism.
Petting a cat has the ability to fight depression, relieve anxiety, lower blood pressure, lower stress, and help you engage socially. It’s no wonder that the University of Minnesota found that people who own cats were 40% less likely to have a heart attack than non-cat owners!
Petting a Cat Can Build the Immune System
Cat allergies are one of the most common allergies out there. Petting a cat as a baby could help people avoid those allergies! According to a study from Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Goteborg, Sweden, infants that have regular contact with cats were more likely to avoid cat allergies, athsma, and other respiratory problems by the age of 13. Scientist speculate that this is the case because early exposure to cats help desensitize the body to the allergens.