Why Do Cats Purr?

Thank you. (3)

We like the sound cats make when they are sitting on our lap. But what is it that makes a cat purr?

Here are a few reasons cats and kittens may purr:

1) They are happy or excited ( even from stress sometimes)
2) They like someone
3) They are getting comfortable or want to be comforted
4) They are getting ready for a nap
5) They are having a good dream while sleeping

Here is a video of a cat purring:

Sometimes purring is accompanied by petting. Sometimes cats purr when they are scritching (softly squeezing or digging claws into a blanket or pillow), just before laying down for a little snooze.

If you are petting your cat and they begin to purr and cuddle next to you, this means they like you and they are happy to be next to you. Perhaps they plan on taking a nap.


How Does a Cat Purr Work?

There is one hypothesis that states cats use vocal folds and muscles of the larynx to alternately dilate and constrict the glottis rapidly, causing air vibrations during inhalation and exhalation. The study that looked into this action relied on electromyographics, which is a technique for seeing and recording electrical activity made by skeletal muscles.

So the theory is, purring is produced by quickly constricting and releasing muscles, and a dilation process that makes air vibrations.

Source: Wikipedia.org


Purring Occurs with Excitement

Sometimes purring can be accompanied with excitement. When we get ready to feed our cats, we sometimes hear a purr. At other times, our cat begins to purr when it is eating hungrily.

There is no growling, just purring. We believe this is from happiness and satisfaction.

When a human says “Mmmmmmm” to tasty food, that can be compared to a purr when a cat is eating.

Sometimes cats may get really sick and quickly afterwards begin purring. This may be a way for them to comfort themselves, as well.


Purring May Also be an Expression of Love

When a person says “I love you” to another person, a cat may simply purr to say “I love you” as they rub various surfaces with their chin and teeth rather vigorously.

Or a cat may purr loudly as they pass back and forth by your legs, pressing their furry sides into you.

But cats can vocalize I-love-you as well, such as in this video, doing their best to use their special voice boxes to speak like we do in plain English:

So they can say I love you with a purr and with a human like voice as well!!


A Cat Purring Can Heal

Cats have a wonderful ability to calm and sooth people who are frantic, fearful, stressed or sickly.

  • Cats can understand when people are arguing.
  • Cats can understand when they’ve upset you.
  • Cats can understand when you’re happy, too.

—They often can tell better than humans can tell it about each other!  A cat can have a great effect on the well being of a sick person, a depressed person or a person who is just sad. So they may approach a person to comfort them with purring.

Of course, not all cats will do this,  but many of our feline friends will show kindness, and their best form of kindness is coming to you when you are feeling down:

They may sit on your lap or come to you and ask to be picked up. Then when they have begun to scritch or purr, they will bring you into sync with their rhythm. This will help calm you down if you’re having a rough time.


Articles on Purring with Scientific Info

Here’s a wonderful infographic on the subject courtesy of DailyInfoGraphic.com


People who have cats know this is true, but may not realize just how de-stressing a cat purr is. When the pet owner and the pet love each other, and the pet gets taken care of respectfully and lovingly, the relationship grows and the bond is continually strengthened.


Conclusion: Purring is a Good Thing and a Healthy Behavior for Every Cat

Cats are interesting and wonderful gifts of life and they can bring great joy to people who are lonely, sick or very unhappy. If you have a cat that comes to you and begins to purr when you are sad, they can effect your mood positively. It’s a felines unique way of communicating, but a purr can also heal.

Do you have something to share about purring ? Leave a comment below!

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