Do cats purr?

Cats purr. Cat owners have surely heard the tonal buzzing made by the pet. Generally, purring is a sound associated with contentment. Cats would turn on the purring switch when cuddled and petted by the owner. However, there are many other reasons why cats purr.

Purring is a behavior commonly associated to cats although some other animals purr too. Hyenas, raccoons, mongooses, civets and guinea pigs are some of the animals that can purr. However, the sounds produced by these animals are a bit different from what is produced by cats. Not all cats purr. Studies have noted that big cats that can roar cannot purr and those that can purr do not have the ability to roar. Lions and tigers can roar but cannot purr. Bobcats can purr but cannot roar. Purring is a rather amazing ability of domestic cats given that it is not common for animals to produce a sound while inhaling and exhaling. Big cats like lions, tigers and jaguars can produce a purring-like sound but only when exhaling. The purring sound is produced when the vocal chords are pulled apart and drawn together too quickly so that vibration is created in the voice box. The strong vibration is then transferred throughout the cat’s body so that the purring pet would appear like an idling engine.

Purring is one of the ways by which cats communicate. Kittens can already purr two to three days after being born. A kitten can nurse and purr at the same time but it is not possible for cat to nurse and meow at the same time. The purring of a nursing kitten will let the mother cat know that all is well with the little ones. The mother cat will then purr to reassure the blind and deaf newborns that she is around to keep them safe. Purring is commonly associated with contentment and happiness. Cats purr when eating their favorite food, when being cuddled and petted by the owner. Purring is typically associated with a feeling of pleasure. The purring the pet makes when the owner arrives home from work would be music to the owner’s ears as it can be viewed as the cat’s happiness at seeing the owner. Cat’s purring though can be due to other reasons. Purring can be the cat’s way of manipulating humans. Notice how a cat would keep on purring beside the sleeping owner. The purring in this case can be the hungry cat’s way of rousing the owner so that the food bowl is filled. It is also possible that the purring cat wants to go out. The cat is urging the owner to open the door with its persuasive purr. Cats purr when stressed. Mother cats are known to purr while birthing. Cat owners must be aware of the fact that cats purr when they are injured and in pain. Ever the independent pets, cats have the tendency to hide when they are in pain. The purring of the cat hiding in dark corners should not be ignored by the owners as the pet may be asking for help.

Studies conducted on why cats purr have disclosed the amazing healing ability of this sound produced by feline friends. The vibrational stimulation of a cat’s purr brings relief to people suffering from acute and chronic pain. Various scientific researches have proven that exposure to purring promotes the healing of muscles. For some reasons, the sound and the vibration increases bone density. Frequencies ranging from 25 to 50 Hz promote bone growth and aids in tendon repair and muscle strengthening. Cats therefore make wonderful pets for aging people suffering for chronic muscle and joint pains. These little healers are now used as therapy pets.