Who Knew? Cats Can Be Cardiologists

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Low-dose aspirin, a glass of red wine, a cup of green tea, aerobic exercise, having your teeth cleaned regularly, and releasing anger have all been touted in medical research studies as ways of decreasing the risk of dying from heart disease. But rescuing cats is an overlooked therapy that hasn't been recommended -- yet. That is, until doctors hear about Carol Smith's experience.

Low-dose aspirin, a glass of red wine, a cup of green tea, aerobic exercise, having your teeth cleaned regularly, and releasing anger have all been touted in medical research studies as ways of decreasing the risk of dying from heart disease. But rescuing cats is an overlooked therapy that hasn't been recommended -- yet. That is, until doctors hear about Carol Smith's experience.

When Smith found a scraggly, starving mother-daughter cat family home on the beach near her home in Saco, Maine, she also saved her own life. Molly and Miss Minnie at various times, over a number of years, became what Smith's cardiologist called kitty pacemakers.

The cats took turns waking Smith at night, massaging her chest, and keeping watch over her through the periods when her heartbeat was faltering during the night. It wasn't until she went to a doctor and described what the cats were doing, that the lucky patient learned they had been performing a life-saving medical procedure. After the doctor implanted a mechanical pacemaker in Smith's chest, the cats stopped their nightly vigil. She knows that if they ever start up again, it means she had better get a checkup right away. Smith says, "Over time, I have learned to listen to my kitty heart specialists more carefully. I discovered that they were far smarter about my health than I was."

Smith's story is included in the book Angel Cats: Divine Messengers of Comfort by Allen and Linda Anderson with an endorsement by actress and animal advocate Tippi Hedren (New World Library, October 2004).

Author Allen Anderson says, "Carol's story illustrates the spiritual relationships people can have with cats. Her extraordinary experience was verified by her doctor who realized that the cats Carol rescued had rescued her."

Given the depth of the closeness between humans and cats, it is no wonder that 77 million cats live in U.S. households, and Americans spend $31 billion on pet products. Millions of people view cats as family members - buying birthday and holiday gifts for them, calling themselves their cats' mother or father, and sleeping with kitty cuddlers in their beds. Recent scientific findings, reported in Angel Cats, show that a cat's purr is the same frequency that increases bone density and strengthens and heals fractures. Spending time with cats offers health benefits such as lowering blood pressure, lifting depression, and helping people to live longer.

Angel Cats contains forty stories and features the following:

  • Paprika, the kitten who saved a little Hungarian girl and her family from being arrested by Russian soldiers in World War II. (Story by Renie Burghardt, Doniphan, Missouri),
  • Monster and O-fer, two playful cats who brought major league baseball player Brian McRae out of a slump during a losing season with the Chicago Cubs. (Story by Brian McRae, Kansas City, Missouri)
  • Smokey, the family cat whose connection with out-of-town family members is so strong that he signals when they are in distress and has never been wrong,
  • Pete, who sent a spiritual sign to a woman who was grieving over his death and launched her on a mission of finding Biblical passages about the spirits of animals surviving death. (Story by Niki Behrikis Shanahan, Tynsborough, Massachusetts),
  • Hocus, whose steadfast friendship and loyalty made bearable the fact that a woman was going blind bearable (Story by Sally Rosenthal, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Dickens, an irascible cat who was dying but appeared in dreams to a husband and wife and told each of them what kind of diet he needed for regaining his health (Story by Judith A. Morris, Key Largo, Florida).

Each story in Angel Cats is followed by a short meditation to help readers focus on the divine messages cats deliver. The chapters close with an Ask Cuddles advice column that contains a question posed by curious humans and answered from the point of view of Cuddles, the Andersons' black-and-white, Buddha-like cat.

In 1996, Allen and Linda Anderson co-founded the Angel Animals Network and its free online Angel Animals Story of the Week at http://www.angelanimals.net. Angel Cats is the latest in an ongoing series of books that contain inspiring stories about courageous, compassionate, and loyal animals. The book has favorable reviews in Cat Fancy, I Love Cats, Animal Wellness, and Best Friends magazines, among others. It is a selection of Book of the Month Club book clubs.

Angel Dogs and Angel Cats are featured on the Holiday Pet Table display at Barnes & Nobles Bookstores nationwide, on Amazon.com, at Borders, Costco, and other chain and independent bookstores, gift shops, and catalogs across the country.

ANGEL CATS: Divine Messengers of Comfort by Allen and Linda Anderson * New World Library

October 2004 * Animals/Spirituality * Trade Paper * 172 Pages * Price: $12.95 * ISBN 1-57731-448-4

ANGEL DOGS: Divine Messengers of Love by Allen and Linda Anderson * New World Library

October, 2005 * Animals/Pets * Trade Paper * 256 Pages

Price: $13.95 * ISBN 1-57731-493-X

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Allen & Linda Anderson