The first thermodynamic law of cats

by Suw on June 20, 2003

It’s been quite warm and sultry of a night here lately, in that uncomfortable way of being too warm to sleep under the duvet, but not warm enough not to. So whatever Fflwff’s reasons are for deciding to cuddle up to me on a nightly basis lately, I’m pretty sure they’re not thermal. She’s not called ?Fflwff? for nothing.

However, my dear moggie has shown a decided preference for sleeping on my feet at night, albeit one at a time. Not comfortably next to, but actually on top of, as if she were attempting to hatch out a small clutch of footlings.

This is not particularly comfortable for me and I am at a loss to see how it could possibly be comfortable for her. My feet aren’t pillow-shaped and remain obstinately bony and angular regardless of how much she tries to squish them into shape. (Although she’s over a stone in weight, with hardly any fat on her, and usually manages to squish most things she sits on quite successfully.)

But, Fflwff doesn’t just sit on my feet, she purrs on them.

Cats purr with a dominant frequency of around 50 hertz ? a frequency which stimulates bone growth and fracture healing. What’s more, they have harmonics at around 120 hertz, which encourage tendon healing. This may well be one reason why cats can survive injuries that would kill other animals of the same size.

Whilst it’s true that purring cats heal quickly, and it’s true that I do have a long-term ankle injury-ette (it’s been slightly sprained for several months now, due to an unfortunate habit I have acquired of sitting at my desk for hours on end with my foot turned over), but I’m really not convinced that Fflwff is aware of my injury and therefore attempting to put some feline healing mojo on it.

I can see the logic behind the theory that dolphins can sense illness and injury in humans using sonar, but I’m pretty sure that purring cats do not have some inbuilt ultrasound scanner thing happening. Although I suppose it would be an interesting experiment to put purring cats on the bellies of a pregnant women and see if there’s any correlation between tail twitches and the gender of the wee bairn. Can’t see that one getting any funding, though.

That said, I’d like to think that if a purring cat was correctly applied directly to an injured area that it could effect some measure of additional healing. I would, therefore, like to give some serious thoughts to the use of purring cats in the treatment of migraines. As detailed in a previous post, I get migraines and they’re not nice. And mine aren’t even all that bad. Perhaps there could be contrapted some mechanism for bringing the purring cat into contact with the affected area.

Or not.

I don’t much fancy having a purring cat balanced on my head in the name of science and medicine. Especially not one with claws and teeth the size of Fflwff’s.

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