When I was 12 years old, my father brought home an abandoned kitten found in the warehouse at work.
We bonded immediately. It was my job to make that cat purr and feel loved.
Recently, my son asked me to cat sit while he travelled for a month or so.
I was hesitant at first, but was soon loving the purr-fest with Mac.
There was something special about the purr that put me into a light meditative state and took away my pains.
What is it about the cat that has much magical ability?
Studies of Ancient Egypt, Medieval witchcraft and movies like Cat Woman, link the cat to Feminine Power, witchcraft, and all sorts of energetic spiritual sources. This is all fascinating, yet does nothing to explain the purring!
We tend to associate purring with a happy cat, yet that is not always the case. Some cats purr when they are injured, in pain, afraid, or in labour.
The sound doesn’t mean they’re happy, but that they are affected by the sound. They create that sound for their own benefit – not ours.
Since there is no “special” anatomy for the purr, it’s not known exactly how they do it. Exactly. It is thought to be caused by minute vibrations in the voice box. Tests that measure the level of electrical activity in muscles (poor cats!) indicate use of the muscles of the larnyx, and partial closure of the glottis (the opening of the larnyx), through both inhalation and exhalation. It is not the result of air passing over the vocal cords, but is an active process.
Any species of cat will either purr or roar, since these two forms of expression require different structures of the vocal chords. Each purr-ing species each has its own particular frequency, strength and volume, yet all domestic cats worldwide purr at a frequency of between 25 to 50 vibrations per second. The full range for all cat species ranges from 25 to 150 Hertz.
Modern physics tells us that everything physical is composed of vibrating molecules. At the sub-atomic level, what appears as solid mater is only particles. Each sense responds to specific frequency ranges as well. The eyes and ears each pick up different frequencies. In some states of mind, the senses can blur, and one hears colour, or sees sound. This is called synethesia.
The more solid the objects, the more dense the vibration, and the lower the rate of (sound) vibration. Objects which appear lighter are emitting higher vibrations of sound. All living things are merely moving particles of energy, very responsive to (sound) waves which emanate through and from them. Each form of life, has its own wave of amplitude and frequency. The field of vibrational medicine makes use of this to quickly heal an organ or eliminate a bacteria/parasite/fungi.
Depending on the frequency, the ranges have been labelled as either delta, theta, gamma, beta or alpha. Often these ranges are discussed as they affect the brain, brain waves and states of consciousness. The range of the housecat’s purr, from 25 to 50Hz, is in the range known as Gamma range.
When the human brain resonates at the Gamma frequency, the world is experienced differently than our ordinary state. Essentially, the brain processing incoming sensory input more acutely and effectively, and recalled quicker and in more vivid sensory detail – the food they ate, the music they heard, the conversations, the names of people they met, the air temperature, etc. High gamma activity also corresponds to a state of peak performance.
Neuroscientists believe that gamma waves are able to link information from all parts of the brain – the gamma wave originates in the thalamus and moves from the back of the brain to the front and back again 40 times per second – not only that, but the entire brain is influenced by the gamma wave. This rapid action makes the gamma state one of peak mental and physical performance. Gamma is the brainwave state of being “in the Zone,” that feeling that you can do anything. It is associated with a feeling of increased calm, peace and happiness, compassion – a feeling of being one with creation.
Gamma waves are present during REM sleep and visualization, and low in those who are depressed. This frequency is also known to heal bones and tendons, in both cats and humans. It is currently being studied for its use in helping with muscle weakness during space flights. Cats, more so than many other pets, have been shown to lower stress and blood pressure in their owners. Veterinarians have long noted that broken bones heal quickly in cats. Our heart rate (wave) is immediately lowered when we are near a cats purr.
It’s All In The Purr
This housecat’s purr has healing benefits for both cats and humans. Researcher Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina is a specialist in the field of bioacoustics. This is the study of the frequency, pitch, loudness, and duration of animal sounds related to their behavior. 25 Hertz is considered fundamental or primary frequency. After that comes harmonics, which always a multiple of the fundamental, meaning that if the fundamental is 25 hertz, the first harmonic is 50, then the second harmonic is 75, the third harmonic is 100, and so forth.
So yes, a cat’s purr can produce serious healing qualities for both the cat, as well as alter the brain wave state of their human companion.
The purr-ing gets even more intense when a cat “kneads.” This is the marching in place a cat sometimes does, which is similar to kneading dough. Cat’s do this from birth instinctively in order to nurse from their mother. After weaning, they sometimes do it on blankets, cushions, clothing, and even people they are close to. Some say cats raised in the wile do not do this; it only happens when cats are raised in captivity, taken away to early from their mother.
When cats do this, the purr is deeper in tone, and they are clearly in a trance, often drooling. The sound and rhythm come from some other place. When Mac does this, I can’t help but go into deep meditation, bordering on sleep, awaking with deep insights into situations I have been stuck on.
Science sees this behaviour as reminiscent of nursing and a means to feel safe. What if we reverse that logic. Spiritually, nursing is a means to connect to the “upper worlds” of nourishment in all forms. Milk is also references in in Hindu and the Vedas to milk of the Sacred Cow, or Mother Goddess. Sustenance comes to us from beyond this physical world, through the Divine Feminine.
Kneading, then, is the means to reconnect to that world and state of mind. It is the deepest way for a cat to heal themselves, or their human.
Spirituality of the Cat
If we can judge by the physiological effects of the frequency of purr-ing, the cat enters delta state. And IF the cat feels one with everyone, has heightened senses, & greater care and awareness, it can explain their seeming to have 9 lives and appear and disappear at will! It might even be extended to mean they are also more aware of energies and non-physical realities. Since cats are nocturnal and sleep most of the day (and night), it also indicates they are more in tune with non-physical realities.
History bears this out as the cat always been associated with spiritual events:
*Ancient China – the glow from a cat’s eyes could scare away evil spirits.
*Ancient Egypt – the Sun’s rays were stored overnight in the eyes of a cat.
*Both Ancient Egypt and China revered the cat as Goddesses.
*South-East Asian Buddhists – the souls of the dead pass into the bodies of sacred cats before moving on to the next life.
*It is commonly thought that cats can see the human aura (electro-magnetic field).
*The cat is known for its “sixth sense” or intuition.
*Mohammed cut off the sleeve of his robe rather than disturb his cat from resting on it.
*It is said cats were created when Noah’s ark became infested with rats. Noah commanded the lion to sneeze and out came a cat!
*Christianity, in the Middle Ages, became obsessed with witches and cats. Cats were either the witches supernatural servant or as the transformed witch herself.
*In Japan, the cat is considered good luck and bringing wealth (waving cat in restaurants). It used to be carried on ships to keep away bad spirits. It was also supposed to attract wealth, for which the navy merchants liked to have it on board.
If the cat’s purr is a sound wave that connects them (and us) humans to a “higher” consciousness; that of being one with everything, it can use that sound deliberately to enter this deep state and access higher intuition and awareness. But unlike other animals, the cat can choose (as much as an animal has free will) when to purr and activate this state.
And as a human, their sounds can and do affect our own states of consciousness and healing.