Cuddle Because Science

Last month, I mentioned my scientific care routine. I thought it worthwhile to explain myself. Though I’m not particularly known for physical affection, I love a cozy cuddling session. There’s nothing like a quiet morning, holding my author’s hand while she buries her face into my fur. I close my eyes, hold her tight, and hope she can feel all my love. Science says that she can!

Science can explain most feelings like the warm fuzzies. Warm fuzzies, or oxytocin as humans call it, is the bonding hormone in humans and pets alike. It calms our anxiety (cold pricklies?) as we connect with each other. This connection is crucial for newborn kittens, but it works for human babies too. Resting a human baby against their parent’s chest raises their oxygen, which regulates their heart rate and promotes healthy growth.

Now, babies may be too loud and grabby for me, but I have experienced the power of a good cuddle. A few years ago, I fell ill with a bad stomach bug. I won’t go into detail but I felt disgusting, humiliated, and too weak to even clean myself. And yet, my author never left my side. She held me while she administered my medicine and cleaned my fur. Her unconditional love strengthened my resolve. Could I have recovered on medicine alone? Probably. But nothing could replace the presence of my favorite human. Having her there was as good as a healing purr. Sometimes, I think I can feel a purr deep-down in my author’s chest. I know that’s a bit silly since humans can’t really purr like us cats, but it felt true for me.

Being loved is essential to the physical and mental health of all living creatures. A good snuggle is the perfect way to show that love. If you’re not very social, that’s OK! It’s important to show yourself some love, too. Don’t tell anyone, but you can find me cuddling with my own toe beans in a warm patch of sun most days. So don’t be shy! Give yourself a little hug, sit atop your author’s chest, or boop their hand. It’s good for you.

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