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NON-Heart how purrs are secret to cats' nine lives

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  • Cynthia Rausch
    Hi Everyone, I posted this on the crf list a while back and since the topic of purring has come up here I thought you might like to read it as well. Revealed:
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 10, 2001
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      Hi Everyone,

      I posted this on the crf list a while back and since the
      topic of purring has come up here I thought you might
      like to read it as well.

      Revealed: how purrs are secret to cats' nine lives
      By David Harrison, Environment Correspondent


      SCIENTISTS have discovered that the purring of cats is a
      "natural healing mechanism" that has helped inspire the myth
      that they have nine lives.

      Nine lives: wounded cats purr because it helps their bones and
      organs to heal Wounded cats - wild and domestic - purr because
      it helps their bones and organs to heal and grow stronger, say
      researchers who have analyzed the purring of different feline
      species. This, they say, explains why cats survive falls from
      high buildings and why they are said to have "nine lives".
      Exposure to similar sound frequencies is known to improve
      bone density in humans.

      The scientists, from the Fauna Communications Research I
      institute in North Carolina, found that between 27 and 44
      hertz (a measure of the number of cycles per second) was
      the dominant frequency for a house cat, and 20-50Hz for
      the puma, ocelot, serval, cheetah and caracal. This reinforces
      studies confirming that exposure to frequencies of 20-50Hz
      strengthens human bones and helps them to grow.

      Dr Elizabeth von Muggenthaler, the president of the institute,
      said: "Old wives' tales usually have a grain of truth behind them
      and cats do heal very quickly. The healing power of purring
      seems to explain their 'nine lives'."

      The scientists say that sound waves created at a particular
      frequency trigger the healing process in feline bones. Purring is
      believed to have a similar effect to ultrasound treatment on
      humans. Dr von Muggenthaler said: "We are starting to solve
      a 3,000-year-old mystery as to why cats purr. the next phase
      will be to explain the mechanics of the process."

      Almost all cats purr, including lions and cheetahs, though not
      tigers. Dr von Muggenthaler said that purring had to be
      advantageous to a cat to survive natural selection, but there
      seemed to be no obvious advantage for a cat merely to display
      contentment. A natural capacity for increasing bone growth and
      strength and reducing healing time was, however, "clearly
      advantageous".

      Cats' ability to survive and recover quickly after falling from tall
      buildings is well documented. One recent study, published in The
      Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, found that
      out of 132 cats that fell an average of 5.5 stories, 90 per cent
      survived, including one that fell 45 stories.

      Other scientific teams are researching whether "sound treatment"
      could be used to halt osteoporosis and even renew bone growth in
      post menopausal women. Dr David Purdie, from Hull University's centre
      for metabolic bone disease, said that the human skeleton needs
      stimulation or it begins to leak calcium and weaken. "Purring could be
      the cat's way of providing that stimulation for its own bones."

      He said that it was difficult to devise physical exercises for old
      people suffering from osteoporosis and speculated that it might
      be possible to create a mechanism to use cats' purring to help
      strengthen elderly bones.
      End..


      Cynthia, Taffy, Samuel
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