A Love Not of This World

 Lord I want
To be up
In my heart
Be
Ohh
Just in my heart, oh Lord
– Moby, In My Heart

Conscious COmpanion_Amy MArtin


This blog post is available as an audio. You can listen here:


Hello Bright Light 💛

I hope this finds you and yours well and at peace in all ways.  Today will be a relatively short post because I have a beach date with my fur babe. We are going to get down and dirty in the sand, salt, and sun!  Thanks to Hocus calling me out on my “stuff” a few months ago, I made a promise to spend my energy more wisely and to be fully present with my beloveds.  (Btw, if you are driving, or prefer to listen instead of reading, you can listen to this blog post by clicking on the link below.)

Let’s get to it.

Do you know that song from Moby?  It’s one of my faves.  Click on the link in the above quote; take a listen and see what you feel.  That is how I am feeling today.  But I haven’t been feeling like that lately.  In fact, I have been going through a helluva a challenge for the past few weeks.  It’s kind of sucked honestly.  Thankfully, regardless of where I am walking, stumbling, or running on this life path, our furry family always has a way of pulling me out of my over-thinking, fear-based brain and back into my heart. 

true love

That is why I am sharing with you today.

If you have been flowing with this blog for a while, you know about how we can move from fear to gratitude and  how this shifts us from fearful living to a heart-based life.   You also now know about why it’s important to look at fear.   But did you know that we can also do this by looking to our animal companions and the wonder of nature?  We can look to them and truly listen from our heart, instead of our head … especially when we start to believe, feel, and think things that are not in accordance of what’s really True. We can learn to see how they really see us.  We can view ourselves and our lives through Lenses of Love.  What am I talking about here?

I am talking about Love.

Real Love.  The kind that creeps up on you.  The kind of love you didn’t see coming.  The kind that hits ya upside the head and eventually rattles you to your core.  I am talking about the kind of love that is not of this world.  The kind of love that allows you to open your closed, hurt crumbled heart.  The kind of love that heals.  I am talking about the kind of love that literally heals parts of ourselves that we thought could never heal.  The love that I am talking about is a love that flows through nature, and through our feathered, furry, and scaly earth angels every moment; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

A Constant Love.

It is a love that never leaves. This love is constant, even when the body is ready to be laid aside.  It is a love that is seamless, ceaseless, and everlasting.  It is a love that walks with us, even when we cannot see our companion.  It is a love that is never-ending.  A love that grows.  A love that only knows expansion.  A love that is eternal.  This love never ends.

An Unconditional love.

It is a love that breaks us into pieces when it appears to leave us.  It is a love that only a true angel can offer us.  It is a love that an ascended master has mastered.  It is a love that we humans wish for, long for, and pray for ever since we are born.  It’s a love that cracks our hearts open and allows us to really FEEL.  It’s a love that teaches us how to accept; a love that allows us to receive.  It is a love that shows us we are supported.  It is a love that that moves us into new chapters of life, even when we think we are not ready.

A True Love.

This is a love that dives deep.  A love that reflects back to us; reflections at times, we would rather not see.  It’s a love that challenges us, triggers us, and reveals to us.  It’s a love that swims through our soul and stirs up what we would rather keep hidden in the depths.

A Love without limits.

This is a love that not even a parent is capable of giving to their child at every moment.  This is a love that we, as animal guardians, are often incapable of showing to our loved ones at all times.  It is a love without judgement.  It’s a love that lacks expectations or rules.  This love is incapable of asking for anything.  This is a love without limits; a love without conditions.

A Love not of this world.


This fire that we call loving is too strong for human minds, but just right for souls. ― Aberjhani, Elemental: The Power of Illuminated Love

California Mexico Humpback Whale
A humpback whale breaching off the coast of Baja California on my birthday last year

The love that I am talking about seems rare, but it really isn’t.  Every one of the Great Lovesin my life has shown me this kind of love.  They lived/live their lives with this kind of love.  They taught me this love.  They gave me this kind of love.  They ARE this kind of love.

Nature has also given me this love. Whether it was a Humpback whale who came close enough for me to truly feel him and learn his wisdom, or a tree who gave me shelter and insights, this love was real.  It was fully present.  It was without judgement.  It was freely given.

This love is here, around you now.

The Standing Ones_Amy Martin_Ireland_Conscious Companion
Hangin’ in the arms of a Standing One in Ireland

“Your task is not to seek for love but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself which you have built against it.” – A Course In Miracles


Recently I was forgetting what’s Real and I momentarily slipped into ego-fear-based thinking.  I had moved out of my heart and into my head.  I was feeling guilty about not doing this, or having said this and that.  I was wishing I had been a better guardian years ago.  I was regretting.  I was wanting to have done things differently over the 18+ years that Mr. Beaux and I have been together.

I wanted to go back and be a better human to him.

I began to cry so hard as I held him.💙  When I found a moment to catch my breath, I looked into his gold eyes and Mr. Beaux very calmly shared, “There is nothing to forgive. I see past it all.  I know who you really are.”
💛
This is a love not of this world.
That is who he is.
That is what he freely gives.

Beaux (2)
Mr. Beaux, my Bodhisattva

“Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself. They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.”― Alan Cohen


My beloved, Mr. Beaux, is not unlike your animal companions. The ones who walk with you while they live their new life in spirit, and the ones who walk with you here on the earth plane.  Their love is truly unconditional.  It is without limits; without borders and expectations. They see beyond the illusion. They see who we really are without our fears, stories, guilt, judgement, and mistakes.  They view through the lenses of Love.

The ARE Love.

So they are able to see us who we really are.  We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are.

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. As a man sees in his heart, so he sees. Through unclean windows, lenses, senses, we see things not as they are but as we are. — H. M. Tomlinson.


Every Day Can Be The 14th!

As heartwarming and humbling as that story about Mr. Beaux is, I have to switch gears a bit.  Most of you know that I am not a fan of Valentine’s Day.  Starting 20 years ago, this fateful date took on a whole new horrible meaning for me when I had to suddenly say goodbye to three of my beloveds on Valentine’s weekend (on three separate occasions!). You can’t make this stuff up, folks.  I was single each time, so each of their transitions broke my heart in unimaginable ways.

So, after several life-changing losses and lessons around Valentine’s Day, I started to view February 14th very differently.  Now every day is the 14th.   If you are interested,  you can read why the meaning of Valentine’s Day dramatically changed for me many years ago and why I believe most of us have MANY “Great Loves”. 

unnamed (4)
My Beloved File’ (Feelay) passed into another world 10 years ago today.

Beyond Feb 14th

At the risk of sounding negative,  I’ve noticed that Valentine’s Day has become a day for people to celebrate their “special love” and thereby exclude love from others, whether they mean to or not; it’s almost inevitable.  Valentine’s Day, to many,  is a contrived Hallmark holiday, whose Dark Origins are unknown to many folks.  

But does it have to be? 

Maybe we can create something new out of it.  Maybe we can live every day as if it’s the 14th.  I truly believe that every day should be centered around extending love; strangers, family, foes, friends.  Love should be the epicenter of our lives.  Not just one day out of the year, but every moment.  Love is the Light that leads our path, and that lights the path of others. 

Our animal companions walk this path.  They are such incredibly beautiful and powerful examples of love!  They are always reflecting a love not of this world.   They are the bridge to the kind of love we have always been looking for.  We just have to recognize it and accept it.  Let that love in.  And then spread it around.


Love is intended to be a circle. Love is intended to be endless. Infinite. Unconditional. Love is not a one way flow. Love gives, and love receives. Love allows us to be raw and open. Love allows us to be exactly who we are, flaws and all. Love heals the broken. Love heals the heart. Love allows us to grow and heal each other. Love Gives Unconditionally.

USMC Conscious Companion_Martin Amy_Unconditional Love
Hocus Pocus giving some our Marines Love on Christmas

Self Love

Our animal family members teach us what it really means to love others (and ourselves) unconditionally.  They teach us how to love and appreciate ourselves (and others) every day.   Love is right there, waiting for us to see it.  But are we loving ourselves the way they love us?  Many of us are so willing to give love, but we have not allowed ourselves to receive. 

Here’s the secret: Self love is loving!

I used to be the last person on the planet who practiced self love.  I felt selfish if I wasn’t giving all of my time and energy to the species I was caring for at both work and at home.  For over a decade during my zoologist days, I was just plowing through the pain and stress, never creating time for myself, and for self care.  But when I moved out of New Orleans and left Audubon, I began to study Energy Medicine and learned a new way of living in the world.

“Choosing self-love challenges the collective paradigm of guilt and shame that has controlled us for thousands of years. If we go the route of the ego, we’ll never feel worthy of self-love. If we choose to live our Spirit, we’ll be instantly liberated.” — Sonia Choquette, The Answer is Simple…Love Yourself, Live Your Spirit!

Clearing and managing my energy was an integral part of this program.  Not only did meditation become a replacement for medicating myself with Advil, alcohol, food, and sugar, but I learned that self care must be a priority if I wanted to help anyone.

I learned that self care IS self love, and that self love is quite easy to do every day.  I then started to notice that the animals I cared for at home were practicing self love 24 hours a day!  They were teaching me!  One easy way to start a practice of self love is to give yourself the gift of a clearing bath.  You can view this simple recipe here.

Clearing baths_empath tools_spiritual cleanse_how to detox_energy

Our lovability and worth doesn’t come from others. It comes from within!”

I will admit that I have spent most of my life caring for others, yet I never gave this same level of care to myself.   But now I do.  Rather than forgetting to do something loving for myself or justifying why I don’t have time, I now create the time and space to receive. I allow this kind of love.

When we cultivate a daily practice self-care, we are being loving.  We are becoming the embodiment of our animal companions and how they live their lives!  When we love and care for ourselves deeply, we can see the divine within ourselves and all other forms of life. We see that we are all connected; that we are one.

When our body and mind are at peace and relaxed we create a ripple effect to every living being in our lives.  We are better prepared for what life has around the corner.  We can better care for others.  We can come from a more loving space; a place where our animal companions are always.


We seek the comfort of another.
Someone to share the life we choose.
Someone to help us through the never-ending attempt to understand ourselves. And in the end, someone to comfort us along the way.  ~ Marlin Finch Lupus 


What About You?

I am really curious about you, so I want to know:  Have you felt this kind of love?  Do you recognize this kind of love when you see, hear, or feel it?  Are you in your head all the time, or are you up in your heart?  Where are you living?  What are you allowing?  Do your animal companions help you to totally accept this kind of love? Have you experienced this kind of love in nature? What was it like for you?

As we continue to move through the month of February, and we experiences these really uncomfortable energies, know that you are always surrounded by love.  We just have to be willing to see, feel, and notice it in all of the many forms … that are not of this world.

But as you start to notice this love, don’t be fooled into the ego-trap that you are not willing or deserving of a love not of this world.  You are. I am. We all are.  Nature and our animal companions are always here to offer this love to us, to see us beyond our faults, and to love us always in all ways.

Allow this love.


In my last post I shared how and why The Wheels of Light Keep Turning.  If this topic peaked your interest and you desire to dive deeper into the relationship with your canine companion, check out my dear friend and colleague’s online class that starts February 22nd!  It will be an eye and mind opener to how we can grow, heal, and thrive together as One!  But most importantly, you will learn why True Love Dives Deep.

Be well friend, and go in love.  Remember that Love walks with you always.

P.S This blog post is available as an audio. You can listen here:

Conscious Companion_True Love Dives Deep

 Love doesn’t make the world go round.  Love is what makes the ride worthwhile.   -Franklin P. Jones


Recommended Reads:

Their World of Gratitude

carlsbad-california-storm-sunset-beach_martin-amy-cc

There is always Light behind the darkness.

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.

 

Hello.  I hope this finds you and yours doing very well and at peace.  I hope wherever you are in the world you are enjoying the holidays and the changing seasons of life.

You may have noticed that I have been absent in sharing with you for many weeks.  Things on our end have been nonstop and challenging, to say the least.  I haven’t had time to share here, continue writing my books, or working with clients.  I have made a few videos, but in general, all professional work has been on hold.

Since I last shared with you we have had many successes and a few scares.  We’ve had three birthdays in the house (woot!), four surgeries, one near-death experience (on a birthday), one reactive rover who trusts again (hallelujah!), funerals for fallen Marines, family and friends visiting, awards ceremonies, best friends battling cancer, and a multitude of other experiences.

But today I am allowing myself to take a break. Today I am choosing to channel my energy into this post in hopes that it will inspire and uplift you. Today I am focusing on something we often forget to focus on: gratitude.


Ever since we moved to California there has been one challenge after another. One struggle after the next. One illness after another. Pain. Heartache. Frustration. Exhaustion.

But that’s not the full story. That’s only part of the picture. There has been much more at play. There is another side to all the stress and strife.  The other side of the struggles are at the heart of this post.

Between the physical and emotional struggles there have been miracles and wonder.  There’s been growth, expansion, hope, strength, endurance, and bonding.  There have been life lessons learned, friendships forged, soul contracts at play, inspiration gained, and new horizons seen.  There have been unimaginable success, hard-fought healings, and life-changing growth on every level possible.

And through it all, somehow we have remained in gratitude. We come back to gratitude. And we remain there. Looking above it all, I am in awe.


Each one of the struggles and successes deserve a post in itself.  In fact, there will be several chapters dedicated to each of them in the books I am writing.  But for now, I will summarize a few of them because not only is there too much to cover in one post, but some stories are not ready to be shared with the world just yet. But they will be one day. I look forward to sharing that with you when the time is right.

Today I want to keep it simple.  I want to uplift and inspire.  My goal is to redirect our focus. And to see life from a new perspective. Even if it’s merely a glimpse.

Today I will be sharing something from the animal’s perspective.

I took the liberty to share not only what they have shared with me over the years, and what I have learned from them lately, but also what I perceive their truths to be.  All of this is centered on their idea of “Gratitude.”


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson


 

Thanks and Giving Beyond November

I have discussed the idea of making room for gratitude before.  I have discussed why it’s so powerful, why we need it now, and why you deserve thanks.   But this post takes a new spin on a familiar topic.  And it curtails the many thanks and giving that some have been enjoying lately.

Here in the United States we just wrapped up Thanksgiving.  It’s a lovely time of year if you create the time to slow down and enjoy it.  I love seeing people smiling, sharing, and caring more this time of year.  I love seeing and hearing the words, “grateful”, “gratitude” and “thankful” tossed around like autumn leaves on the breeze.  An attitude of gratitude seems to permeate people.  It’s really quite beautiful.

But then it leaves.

Just as the vibrantly colored leaves float to the ground, briefly rest on the Earth and quickly dance off into the horizon, so too goes our gratitude.

leaves-in-the-wind

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Gratitude can be an attitude that we embody during the most challenging times. Gratitude can be a cloak in which we cover a tired body.  Gratitude can be the breeze we choose to ride.  It can be the wind we set our sails to while riding the rocky seas.  Gratitude can sooth the most exhausted mind.  It can heal a broken heart.  It can change your world.  And it can radically change the world of our animal family members.

But we have to choose it.

Gratitude is not a gift. It is not reserved for the elite, the special, or the few.  It is who we are.  It is who you are without all of the other thoughts, beliefs and judgments.  Gratitude, like Love is always only a thought away.

I am reminded of this during every struggle.  In fact, I am reminded of Gratitude when I look at how the animals move through their lives.  I am reminded of the power of gratitude when I see them shine; when their light is brightest even when there is a dark cloud above them.  I am reminded of gratitude when they outshine me.

It’s as if all the world could be falling apart, but they somehow remain grateful in their heart.  They rise above it.  They see beyond temporary, fleeting circumstances. They know that this too, shall pass.  They know more than we realize and gratitude is their guide.


“Just an observation: it is impossible to be both grateful and depressed. Those with a grateful mindset tend to see the message in the mess. And even though life may knock them down, the grateful find reasons, if even small ones, to get up.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free


Gratitude as a Gift

I started thinking about how gratitude has pulled me out of my darkest depressions and my most intense anxieties over the years.  Gratitude has transformed boredom, frustration, fear, and anger into hope, trust, and joy.  I thought about how much there is to be grateful for, even during the darkest hour.  I thought about how gratitude has been a driving force pushing me through the past few months.

Then I thought about our animal family members.  I wondered what they might be grateful for this year.  I wondered how gratitude played into their perspective.  I wanted to really look into what they were thankful for, without stepping into the quicksand of anthropomorphism.  I wondered what they would say “Thank you” for every day.

What I discovered wasn’t a surprise; these aspects are all part of their journey and the story of their lives.  If the animals were to say “thanks” for the circumstances and gifts in their lives, their lists might include these:

  • Unconditional Love
  • The ability to let go
  • Hide and seek games
  • Seeing the world through innocence
  • Fireside snuggles
  • Seeing our people become stronger and fearless
  • Meals tailored to our individual needs
  • Foraging and hunting opportunities
  • Being unattached
  • Sharing our people’s bed
  • Play time
  • Knowing this world is temporary; a place away from our real Home.
  • Being unapologetic
  • Energy healing sessions
  • Holistic care
  • Animal communication
  • Living a force-free way of life
  • Being silly and goofy
  • Food used as a tool
  • Soul contracts being honored
  • Unexpected car rides in the Adventure Box
  • The ability to choose
  • Meeting nice people out and about
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Seeing my people happy and healthy
  • Getting permission to roll in smelly goodness
  • Overcoming illness
  • Watching our person learning to let go
  • Warm beds
  • Communicating on a new level
  • Smelling the scents on the breeze
  • Our person learning how hidden emotions affect us
  • Excellent boxes
  • Teaching our people new life lessons
  • Meditation moments
  • Knowing that our people are doing the best they can
  • Watching each other grow
  • Feeling the sun on our fur and face
  • Aging with dignity and grace
  • Soul mates
  • Unlikely friendships forged through trust
  • Just Being
  • Force-free medical care at home
  • Bonds that never break
  • Being seen as an individual
  • Polite play dates
  • Being listened to and heard
  • A loving home
  • Being near the one you love
  • Adventures
  • Being loved for who I Am

 

…Those were just a few of their “thanks” that came to mind.  These are a merely a snippet of what I have been honored to learn from them.  I am grateful.  I am humbled. I am honored.  And I am grateful for each of them.

Teachers. Gifts. Angels. Lights in the dark.  That is what they are to me.  This is some of what I am grateful for each day.  This is what I will focus on as we move through this life together. This is what I will remember when things get hard. When life is rough. I will remember these things and I will share their gratitude.

Our gratitude won’t end now that Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Our gratitude will last.  It will be within us 365 days a year.  And as we grow gratitude, we will pass it on to others. If you’re interested I made a quick video about this. You can view it here.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/193259849″>An Attitude of Gratitude 365</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user31689127″>Conscious Companion</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



 

What do you believe your animal companions are grateful for? What are the gifts in their lives? What supports their attitude of gratitude? What would be on their “thankful for” list?



Before I go, I would also like to share that I am grateful for you.  Thank you for being here. Thank you being a part of this community.  Thank you for reading, staying inspired, and for being willing to stay in an attitude of gratitude every moment of the day.

From our family to yours,

Much love and light


“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.”
― Meister Eckhart

carlsbad-sunset-conscious-companion
Sunset at our home

YouTube

 

What’s In A Purr? The Healing Power of PURRS

Have you ever wondered how and why cats purr?  

If you have lived with cats, loved a cat, or had the pleasure of petting a content cat, then you know how cool it is to hear and feel them purr.  Most of us think that purrs happen when a cat is content, but cats actually purr at many other times as well.  Let’s take a look at what we know:

What We Know

  • Purring is one of many behaviors that cats use to communicate their emotional and physical state of being.
  • It is the unique anatomy of felines which makes this sound possible.
  • Cats purr when they’re experiencing pleasure. They purr when they are stressed, while they are giving birth, and when they are in pain.

Fun Fact:  Cats aren’t the only animals that purr!  Rabbits, squirrels, guinea pigs, tapirs, ring-tailed lemurs, elephants, raccoons and gorillas make purring sounds too – often while eating.

Casey, our male silverback Western Lowland Gorilla, enjoying his breakfast on exhibit at the Audubon Zoo.  I wonder if he's purring here.
Casey, our male silverback Western Lowland Gorilla, enjoying his breakfast on exhibit at the Audubon Zoo.  I wonder if he’s purring here.


How Cats Purr

Science is still trying to demystify the purr.  But the general consensus of veterinarians and scientists is that purring doesn’t actually originate from the throat.  Basically, the unique feline anatomy provides the structure and physiology that causes the purring.

Below is an image of a cat’s throat that shows the kitty “music maker.”  The glottis is a part of the larynx or voice box and the slit-like opening between the vocal cords.  The alternating action of the laryngeal muscles and the diaphragm produce air movement within the larynx.  This causes a buildup of air pressure.  The air is then released through the glottis.  The repetitive opening and closing of the glottis gives purring its unique sound.  This is how we are able to feel the movement within your cat when we place our hand on her side or under their throat.

The frequency of the glottis movement is about ten times that of normal respiration, according to Dennis Turner in his book The Domestic Cat: The Biology of Its Behavior.  The purr resulting from these vibrations have been found to have a range in frequency, and the frequency themselves may be part of the communication that the cat is trying to convey.

 

Cat throat purrs

 The vibrating folds of the glottis are what actually create a purring sound.


Not All Cat Purrs Are Created Equal

Manipulation of the vocal cords produces the different vocalizations that cats all around the world can create.  But a purr is a bit different, depending on the species.  Domestic cats (Felis catus) purr, but Big Cats (Genus Panthera) do not technically “purr”. – At least not by using the same mechanism as house cats.  A 2002 study in Mammal Review reported that true purring is only seen in the scientific families of Viverridae and Felidae.  The mechanism varies with each species.  For the most part, it’s the semi-domestic cat  (your cat at home) that produces the purring sound in its true form.   Wild cats (lions, caracal, serval, puma, ocelot, cheetah, leopards) do purr, but it’s not a “true” purr . (But don’t tell the big cats that!)

I bet he's purring.
I bet he’s purring.

Feline Fact:  The difference between purring and roaring in domestic cats and big, wild cats) is how they breathe.  Domestic cats purr during inhalation and exhalation.  Big cats (ex. lions and leopards), produce a similar sound, but only during exhalation.

Why Cats Purr

No one really knows exactly why cats purr.  It could be for social reasons —  to get the attention of their human or to create a bond with their offspring or their mother. Research suggests that purring also has restorative properties for healing and reducing stress.  Scientists have proposed that when a cat purrs while in distress, pain, or giving birth, they are purring to trigger the brain to release pain killing hormones. This may be related to healing.  Some scientists say that cats might even purr to manipulate their humans or their environment.

Another reason for the evolution of a cat’s purr starts at birth.  Did you know that kittens are born blind and deaf?  They rely on the sound and vibration of their mother’s purr.   At two days after birth, a kitten can purr.  This evolutionary trait could be a method for kitty mama and kittens to communicate, and locate each other.

We all know that it’s natural for a cat to do what a cat does best – to get something they want.  Call it the power of  Purr-suasion, if you will.  According to a study at the University of Sussex, cats will purr to gain food, attention, or affection.  This behavior mainly happens with indoor cats that have a close relationship with their human.  Purring, coupled with a high-pitched “purr-whine” can get their human to pretty much give into whatever the cat wants.

Admit it. You have done this when under the powerful pull of the feline purrsuasion. One study suggests that the high-pitched purr is very close to the high-pitched whine of a child, and makes it almost irresistible for owners not to investigate why the cat is making the sound.  I don’t know about this theory because I will run from the sound of  a shrieking child.  However, if I were to really be objective about this, I have to admit that when my kitties cry or whine I do get up and attend to their feline needs.

Karen McComb, PhD headed a study to explore the unique characteristics of these insistent purrs after wondering why her own cat could be “so annoying.”  In the study, recordings of 10 cats’ purrs revealed that cats sometimes develop a “twist on purring.”  Cats can add a vocalization into the mix to solicit responses from humans.  McComb’s team suggests that cats may have learned how to tap into a mammalian response for nurturing offspring by embedding a cry within a call that’s normally associated with contentment.

Added to the basic 25 Hz purr is an overlay of a high-frequency cry-meow that humans perceive as somewhat obnoxious.  Cats apparently learn to do this to get people to feed them sooner.

 

Purring is also associated with being content around others.  One study suggests that purring can be an attempt to be friendly to other cats, to other people, or to signal a specific intent.  For example, when a cat is being petted, asking for food, or even purring at the scary veterinarian’s office, purring could be a way to communicate ‘friendship’.  This study suggests that purring encourages humans to continue petting the cat, giving him or her attention, receiving food, or in the case of the veterinarian or an injury, to not hurt the cat.  In essence, the cat is stating that he or she is not a threat by purring.

 


Feline Fact: Cats actually have a range for their purring, similar to how humans hum in different pitches.   A cat’s purring frequency ranges between 25 and 150 Hertz


The Healing Properties of a Purr

Cat purring health benefits

Scientists have discovered that purring is a “natural healing mechanism.”  They have discovered that  wounded cats (both wild and semi-domestic) purr because it helps their bones and organs to heal.  Fascinatingly, exposure to similar sound frequencies has been shown to improve bone density in humans!  Scientists have also learned that cats release endorphins while purring.  Endorphins are a natural analgesic that assists to reduce pain during the healing process.

 


Old wives’ tales usually have a grain of truth behind them, and most people have heard of  a cat’s “nine lives.” There is also an old veterinary adage still repeated in veterinary schools which states, “If you put a cat and a bunch of broken bones in the same room, the bones will heal.”  Any veterinary orthopedic surgeon will tell you how relatively easy it is to mend broken cat bones compared with dog bones which take much more effort to fix, and  take longer to heal. ~ The Felid Purr: A bio-mechanical healing mechanism


 

Veterinary orthopedic surgeons have observed how relatively easy it is to mend broken cat bones, as compared with dogs.  In a study of “High Rise Syndrome” found in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Whitney and Dr. Mehlhaff documented 132 cases of cats plummeting from high-rise apartments, with the average fall being 5.5 storeys (55 feet). The record height for survival was 45 storeys.  Ninety percent of the 132 cats studied survived even though some had severe injuries.  There is also literature that suggests that domestic cats are in general less prone to postoperative complications following elective surgeries.

But are purrs to thank for this healing? Researchers believe that self-healing is the survival mechanism behind the purr, specifically during times of pain, injury and distress.  There is extensive documentation that suggests that low frequencies, at low intensity, are therapeutic.  These frequencies can aid bone growth, fracture healing, pain relief, tendon and muscle strength and repair, joint mobility, the reduction of swelling, and the relief of dyspnea, or breathlessness.

 


 Purring really cannot be considered a true vocalization, as the purr is produced under differing emotions or physiological states.


 

Researcher Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina (FCRI), a specialist in the field of bioacoustics, put it all together.  Bioacoustics is the study of the frequency, pitch, loudness, and duration of animal sounds as it relates to the animal’s behavior.  Based on her research, she proposes that nature has endowed all kinds of felines with an evolutionary healing advantage in the simple act of purring.

Remember that purring takes energy and cats purr not only when all is well, but also when the cat is giving birth, hurt or just scared. There has to be a very good reason for the energy expenditure to produce purring, especially when the cat is physically stressed or ill.  It would have to be somehow involved in its survival. Muggenthaler set out to find how; you can read a summary of her study and results here.


It’s important to note that purring takes a lot of energy.  Getting a diaphragm to move for something other than breathing is difficult. When there is pain and suffering, our bodies are traumatized and they shut down non-essential activity.  Since cats purr when they are severely injured or dying, we can assume that it must be survival-related. ~Elizabeth von Muggenthaler of the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina
Thehealingpowerofcatpurrs_
Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing.

Purring While In Pain or Distress

 I have witnessed a cat purring when in pain, when in stress, and even when dying.
After our beloved cat, Samantha, was diagnosed with terminal cancer I learned about the healing power of purrs.  A malignant mass in her chest cavity prevented her from breathing normally.  Every breath was labored, but I noticed that she was purring constantly.  I had no idea at the time that she was purring to both heal and self soothe.
Samantha purred every time she was at the vet. I knew she was not
Samantha purred every time she was at the vet with me.  I knew she was not  purring because she was “happy”. She was self soothing.

The Sweet Sounds of Samantha Purring

This is a recording of my beloved cat, Samantha, purring while she was very sick with cancer at the end of our time together.  Even minutes before she passed away here at home with me, she was purring this loudly.
I took this picture of Samantha on the last day we were together.  She was purring loudly here. She passed away at home with me shortly after this picture was taken.  I believe I captured some of her energy field in this picture.
I took this picture of Samantha on the last day we were together. She was purring loudly here.  I captured some of her life force energy in this picture.  She passed away at home in front of me shortly after this picture was taken. 

Good Vibrations!

Cats have far surpassed dogs as the number one pet in the U.S., where 60% of homes have at least one pet, says Rebecca Johnson, PhD, RN, FAAN, director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction.  Maybe one reason is because cats do a better job of lowering stress and blood pressure than many other pets, and purring may help with that.

Purring is an auditory stimulus that people attribute to peacefulness and calmness.  Whether right or wrong, we generally construe it as something positive.  That gives us positive reinforcement for what we’re doing and can contribute to the whole relaxation effect when we interact with our cats.

So why are our feline companions purring?  Are they self soothing?  Are they healing themselves? Are they asking for something? Are they sending “friend” signals to others?  Well, we have to consider the environment where the purr is happening.   As their guardians, we must learn to “read the purr” in context.  If we do this, we  can better understand what our feline friends might be feeling or trying to communicate with us and with the other animals in their environment.
Animals are highly intelligent beings.  They don’t have to speak human language to prove their value and their intelligence.  They are perfect just they way they are. We can learn to bridge that gap of Purr Communication if we just take the time to watch, observe, and learn from them.
This blog is dedicated to one of the greatest teachers in my life, our beloved cat Samantha.  Thank you, sweet and wise Sammy for showing me the many meanings of purrs.  I love you with all of my heart.
My beloved cat sammy

I would love to hear your experiences with purrs!  What have you noticed about your feline friends?  When do they purr?
 

This article was published in 2013 in  “WHAT IS MY CAT SAYING? FELINE COMMUNICATION 101”.  Thank you, Jacquline Munera, for recognizing this important topic and sharing it with the world! 

Sources:
Solving The Cat’s Purr Mystery using Accelerometers by Elizabeth von Muggenthaler and Bill Wright http://www.acoustics.asn.au/joomla/australian-acoustics-journal-august-2003.html http://www.bksv.com/NewsEvents/Waves/OtherArticles/TheCatsPurrMystery.aspx EverydayMysteries.com Why and How Cats Purr? http://www.loc.gov http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=why-do-cats-purr Foster, Dr.; Smith, Dr.. “Purring in Cats”. Pet Education.com. Retrieved 2011-04-10. http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/catspurr.html Holton, Cara and Pires, Jackie. Purring in the Domestic Cat. Fall 2011, academic.reed.edu http://www.why-do-cats-purr.com/ Leyhausen, Paul. in Cat Behavior: The Predatory and Social Behavior of Domestic and Wild Cats, translated by Barbara A. Tonkin. New York: Garland STPM Press, c1979. http://www.leaflady.org/purr.htm Minard, Anne. Cats Use “Irresistible” Purr-Whine to Get Their Way. National Geographic News. July 13, 2009 http://www.animalvoice.com/catpurrP.htm Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association; Healing and the cat’s purr – Fauna Communications Research Institute http://www.livescience.com/5556-cats-control-humans-study-finds.html Muggenthaler, Elizabeth Von. Felid Purr: A Healing Mechanism. 142nd Annual Acoustical Society of America, American Institute of Physics. 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8147566.stm http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090713-cats-purr-whine.html