Best Recovery Kitties of 2023

A photo gallery of 2023s most coveted recovery aid — cats.

By and on April 1, 2023 | Comments

[Editor’s Note: We are pleased to bring you this article, co-created by recovery kitty specialist Amy Sproston and iRunFar editor Sarah Brady. We hope you enjoy — and recover well.]

What’s the best recovery tool for runners? We asked that question of Google and were shocked that it did not come up with a single correct response. A heavily discussed topic, the internet is full of articles describing various types of foam rollers, trigger point balls, massage guns, things that vibrate, assorted creams, TENS units, compression socks or boots, red lights, lasers, hot/cold therapies, and supplements. But not a single article mentioned the one thing that is blatantly obvious to those of us lucky enough to cohabitate with them — cats. Cats excel at recovery and can encourage their owners to take it seriously, too.

What’s one of the best activities for recovery? Sleep. Anyone that lives with a cat knows that cats are exceptional nappers. And cats often enjoy napping on their humans, adding benefits, including purring and warmth. The frequency of a cat purr has been shown to help heal broken bones and repair joints and tendons. Add in a warm kitty, and that bum knee will be healed in no time. Compounded by the unspoken rule that when a kitty falls asleep on top of you, you are not allowed to wake the sleeping kitty. This forced rest is another great benefit of kitty parenting.

In trail running circles, dogs often get a lot of the spotlight, but as ultrarunners start to appreciate that rest is an important component of training, who should really be in the spotlight? This gallery of ultrarunners with their adorable feline companions highlights the answer.

Cats. Cats are the answer.

Rob Krar and cats

Rob Krar with recovery cats. “More is more” when it comes to recovery kitties. Not feeling fully recovered? Add another cat. Photo: Christina Bauer

Two cats and a dog snuggle with human.

Cats can also coach your trail dog on the art of recovery. Here Lightning and Cruz show Arty the ropes. Photo: Linda Barton

Cat in yoga pose on beanbag.

Yoga can be really helpful for recovery. That is: watching your kitty do yoga on a beanbag — like Ozzlik here. Photo: Karina Jonina

Very cute ginger cat on human's lap

Dewey utilizes a combination of a hypnotic stare and very soft peets to ensure his human does not move until adequately recovered. Photo: Casey Wyatt

Small tabby cat on a crock shoe

Rowan Greenwood understands the importance of supportive footwear for recovery. Photo: Ellie Greenwood

Cat nibbling foam roller

Voltaire and his human demonstrate that foam rollers are delicious and great for recovery. Photo: Mallory Richard

Cat sitting on folded towels

If feeling really zapped after a run, try to find a pile of neatly folded laundry to recover on, as demonstrated by Joey. Photo: Chris Knight

Cat and human resting on sofa

Witch Hazel leading by example. Photo: Alli Hartz

Cat sleeping on treadmill

As Horace shows, an easy run on a treadmill can help with recovery. Like really, really easy … Photo: Olivia Rissland

Ginger cat sleeping on fleece gilet.

Rusty Jones modeling the 2022 UTMB finisher’s cat bed/gilet. Photo: Michael Jones

A black cat with a toothy grin.

A rare capture of recovery cat Fluffy between naps. Photo: Alicia Christofi-Walshe

Tuxedo cat and tabby cat chilling with human

Amy’s cats, Sam (the tuxedo cat) and Ella (the tabby) who were the inspiration for this article. Photo: Amy Sproston

Call for Comments

There is just one thing you can do here: Share in the comments about your recovery kitty. Go!

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.

Sarah Brady
Guest Writer is a contributor to