Master's story: learning vigilance and calm with your cat

- through Fabrice Groult

Published on

Why do cats calm us down so much?

Buddhism considers all living beings, human and animal, as likely to achieve enlightenment if their conditions of rebirth lend themselves to it. Many anecdotes depict the benevolence, compassion and affection of masters towards animals; they are also a source of education in their own right. Take the example of cats. In Asia, many temples welcome them freely. It seems that this custom has its origins in a very old legend which relates the story of a great Buddhist master who never meditated without his cat by his side. The animal being particularly calm and attentive, like any good meditator, and he considered it essential to his practice.

On a daily basis, this resonates with me since our family welcomed our cat Noé, a Sacred Birman. My wish was to rely on the calm and naturally communicative nature of this breed to help my extremely rambunctious nine-year-old son find some calm and concentration at home. I was far from imagining that this adorable ball of hair with the celestial eyes was going to give us much more than all that I could have hoped for… Explanations.

"Purr Therapy"

My son has always been a bouncy and curious little being. Disinclined to sit silently on a zafu, he flits happily from one activity to another and enjoys being the center of my attention. However, if I am incapable of ignoring his inopportune requests, sometimes Noé does it very well. Free, the cat does what it has to do – eat, sleep, play – without trying to please. Cats live in the present. Perhaps this is the reason for their extreme vigilance?

"Purring is a universal remedy that could be 'used' in an even more useful way in lonely people or in mental drift: retirement homes, care establishments and why not prisons. »

Not content with being an unwittingly great teacher, Noah also calms everyone around him. "Purring therapy", initiated in 2002 by veterinarian Jean-Yves Gauchet, is a discipline that is unanimous in our family: no stress or agitation can resist Noah's hugs! But why does this sweet and mysterious melody do us so much good? Purring is in fact a contraction of the larynx which produces low frequency waves, from 20 to 50 hertz. These waves would promote the production of the hormone of well-being and serenity: serotonin.

This is confirmed by a cat lover, Bernard Werber (hypertext link Itw Bernard Werber), who has published several books about them with Albin Michel and who says in essence: "This purring is a universal remedy that could be 'used' in a even more useful for people who are lonely or mentally adrift: retirement homes, care establishments and why not prisons” (1). Are cats actually man's best friend?

photo of author

Fabrice Groult

Fabrice Groult is an adventurer, photographer and Buddhist who has traveled the world since a young age. After studying Buddhism in India, he embarked on an eighteen-month journey through Asia that took him to the Himalayas, where he discovered his passion for photography. Since then, he has traveled the world capturing images of Buddhist beauty and wisdom. He was a guide for ten years, and is now a journalist with Buddhist News.

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