I will speculate and state that the sound waves of the cat’s purr physically vibrates cells in the body at the site of the wound or injury. The process wakes up the cells to make them more responsive to the wound and reduces healing times by up to a third.
A lot of people, including the respected Sarah Hartwell of messybeast.com say that the cat’s purr has healing qualities. It is one reason why cat’s purr, it is believed. It is to do with the frequency of the purr. The purr’s frequency is particularly suited to repairing bones although it can help heal wounds, joint injuries, reduce pain and infections etc..
Veterinary orthopedic surgeons say that cat bones mend more easily compared to dog bones. I don’t know how true this. Perhaps someone can assist in a comment?
The explanation why sound waves improve the healing process comes from recent research using ultrasound (high frequency sound). Ultrasound is inaudible but other than that it is like audible sound.
This image shows the scale of sounds:
I am speculating in stating that if, scientifically, ultrasound has been found to have healing properties then the cat’s purr has similar properties. It is extending the idea to a different frequency but it seems to be quite plausible, which is why I am proposing it.
The study on ultrasound’s healing properties was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology and reported on, on the BBC website.
About ultrasound, Dr Mark Bass said:
“It’s activating the normal healing process, that’s why it’s an attractive therapy; the ultrasound is simply waking up cells to do what they do normally.”
The healing process is through “mechanical stimulation”. It is a very healthy way to heal wounds. I would like to see more work on this. The cat’s purr also helps to heal us! That’s the clincher.
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Credit for the image is: “Ultrasound range diagram” Original uploader was LightYear at en.wikipediaderivative work: Coolth (talk) Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.