When someone I was buying greens from at the farmers market wished me Happy Mother’s Day, she put a caveat on it and said “That is IF you are a mother.” Not one to let poor manners slide I very kindly told her “I’m a mother to 4 cats, 4 bunnies, a business, and I’m motherly to countless people including my husband, and my customers.” While her reaction was not positive, she gave me the stink eye, I’m hoping that if she thought about it later in the day and that she might have changed her closed minded thinking.
After that encounter a fascinating National Geographic article crossed my path about the feel good hormone, Oxytocin, which increases significantly when someone gives birth and takes the newborn into her arms and gazes at her child. The article goes on to tell us that a grandmother will get a similar Oxytocin increase when she sees her grandchild for the first time. And just as exciting, men are absolutely capable of this hormone being released, it takes them a bit longer but it’s a comparable rise as well. Also fascinating is that transgender people in various stages of their transition will get the same increase of Oxytocin with their babies. These numbers were gathered when tests were done before and after contact with the baby was made.
This had me wondering – does the Oxytocin hormone increase in us when we hold or look into the eyes of our cats or other animals? I consulted with good old Dr. Google and found articles about what happens to us when we gaze into the eyes of an animal, any animal, and yes, Oxytocin kicks in when we gaze into the eyes of a cat just as it does for a woman who’s given birth! I know you are thinking “Of course, I could have told you that!” but now we know that it’s not just us crazy cat ladies and crazy cat gents who think so, science confirms it – it’s for real! Our cats give us the Oxytocin feel good hormone, and anything that feels good is healthy and live extending, and we are all about that!
Curious to learn more I went to Professor Google to ask if animals release Oxytocin. I found more articles telling me that yes, they do. The Atlantic says: “That animals of different species induce oxytocin release in each other suggests that they, like us, may be capable of love. It is quite possible that Fido and Boots may feel the same way about you as you do about them. You can even call it love.” You can read the entire article, written by a scientist who is also a cat person! https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/04/does-your-dog-or-cat-actually-love-you/360784/
Here’s the National Geographic article that inspired this newsletter: http://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/science/is-maternal-instinct-only-for-mums-heres-the-science.aspx
If you like videos here’s one about Oxytocin that has equal amounts of science and sarcastic humor, and it’s done in a very 1960’s television news style! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acka4SopuAY
One of our favorite customers, The Gettysburg Cat Mom, had this to say:
“I can certainly relate to the feelings we experience when we gaze into our cats’ eyes! Especially my lovely long-haired, blue-eyed beauty. She is superb at looking directly into my eyes without blinking and it is indeed totally relaxing and rejuvenating, the same feeling I get after a really good Qigong session. No words or sounds are necessary, because we’re communicating on a totally different level. Our animals are so much more in touch with the energy in our world that surrounds us. We humans can learn so much from them!”