How and why do cats purr?

Purring is a part of a cats’ repertoire of social communication. Purr is a sound that is similar to a buzzing sound. However purrs differ in cats. Each of them has distinctive purr. Some may have faint, demure purr while others purr so loudly.

Have you ever wondered how cats purr? There are many theories that explain how cats’ purr is generated. One study revealed that purring is produced when the nerves in a cat’s voice box or larynx is activated. This nerve signals cause vibrations of the vocal cords thereby producing the cats’ purring sound. Another theory about cat purring is that it is caused by the release of morphine-like substances (endorphins) in the brain. Endorphins are natural analgesics that reduce pain while healing occurs. Some pet owners may notice that their cat is purring without interruption. This is because the sound is created both when air is inhaled and exhaled so the purring is continuous. You may also notice that as your cat increases its breathing the purring sound becomes louder and more noticeable.

Not many animals purr. The ability of cats to purr is rather amazing given that these animals do not have an anatomical feature that is distinct from other animals. There are numerous reasons why cats purr. All cats are born with purring ability. A cat while giving birth will purr. This may be because of the pain that the cat feels. Some says that purring while giving birth helps the cat reduce the pain they feel during the birthing process. Kittens can purr at the age of 2 days old. Kittens instinctively purr when they are nursing and the mother cat purrs back at them. This earliest purring may be a part of their initial bonding process. Purring serves as a means for the cats to communicate with each other. Purring is not only confined to kittens as purring continues until adulthood. Most cat owners associate cats purring when the cat is happy and contented. However what many cat owners do not know is that cats may also purr during their unhappy moments. Cats purr if they are under pressure or when they feel threatened or frightened. Animal experts believed that when cats under stress purr, he is comforting himself pretty much the same when to humans’ inclination to sing when frightened. Frightened cats also purr to show submission to an enemy. Cats purr when they try to create friendship. When a cat tries to approach another cat to interact, the cat often purrs. This is his way to communicate his reason for approaching. It is also common for cats to purr while sleeping and eating. While they sleep cats feel contentment. Cats also purr when being petted. This is the cat’s way of letting the owner know that they love the petting and that they appreciate the owner’s efforts.

For this reason cats are known to be therapy animals. Some cats are specially trained to visit hospitals and nursing homes. Studies have shown that interactions of cats with hospital patients lower blood pressure and help to alleviate depression among patients. Their vibrations when purring helps patients from hospitals to recover. Science has shown that all cats purr at the same frequency which is 25 to 150 hertz. This energetic frequency is believed to have the capability of improving bones density and encouraging the healing of the body. This would explain why cats purr when they are in pain. It is clear that cats purr to communicate with other cats and pet owners. Cat purring also offers health benefits to humans. Cats purr at the happy and stressful times of their lives. But more importantly they purr to show affection to pet owners.

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