The soft purrs of a purring cat are always nice to hear, especially since it’s often a very good sign to hear it making such a noise.
But why are they purring? Purring is a subject that, after decades of research, continues to fuel the curiosity of ethologists, because many things need to be clarified to establish it precisely.
In this article, we will see what causes these felines to purr and then see everything you need to know about purring.
Purring Cat: The Different Reasons
A cat purrs when its breath emits a sort of repeated, soft vibration that produces the onomatopoeia « purr-rumble ».
The real reason why cats purr is still subject to many questions. There are many theories which try to explain this sound coming from the contraction of the muscles of the larynx and which occurs 30 times per second.
The variation in a cat’s purr depends on air speed and the sound is usually soft, short and low in intensity.
A sign of well-being
When he is an adult, your cat will purr when you pet him, play with him or talk to him. All of these situations are situations in which he feels good and he lets you know with a soft purr.
But if it’s a young kitten, it has certain reflexes related to its mother. Basically, a kitten purrs to indicate to its mother that it is fine and its mother can return the purr. It also allows the kitten to communicate with its mother while eating.
The vast majority of the time, the cat purrs to signal that he is well and you can also note that these moments correspond to moments of relaxation or games for your feline.
A sign of pain
In some cases, a cat may purr because he is in pain, especially when he gives birth or goes to the vet to reassure himself. It’s a way for them to release tension when something painful hits them.
If the cat has parallel symptoms, such as apathy, lack of appetite or watery eyes, it is most likely sick.
He’s trying to get attention
If the cat meows continuously and intensely, it is looking for attention, maybe it is hungry or maybe it just wants to fill the boredom. Be careful not to always comply with his requests or he will take himself for a prince.
In this case, the cat will stare at you or stick to you when it purrs.
He says hello to you
A single meow is a way of greeting us. Yes, it is very similar to us. It’s quite rare in cats and yours is probably a very distinguished being to greet you.
He is happy to see you
If the purr is preceded by a meow, your cat is happy to see you and this is a real sign that he loves you and is happy with you.
This then happens when you come home or get up and it is very likely that he runs towards you to show you his satisfaction to see you again.
When sick, your cat will try to comfort itself by purring to relax. It camouflages its difficulty in overcoming disease, and cats use it as a resting repair mechanism to relieve stress and aid healing by keeping those bones in tip-top shape.
If you notice he looks weak, take him to the vet, his illness or pain may not show.
My cat purrs: things to know
There is no other animal that can purr, and researchers were able to come to some conclusions regarding purring in cats.
It is good for bone problems
And yes, according to may seem very strange, but nevertheless, purring would be good for the bones. In some studies, the low frequencies emitted by purrs have seemed to help heal bone fractures and tendon injuries by reducing pain.
The purr relaxes
As explained above, purring is often linked to relaxation, or made to relax. But purring is also a stress reliever for humans. It even propagates on the same frequency as classical music.
Purr and good mood
The purring of the cat has positive effects on the human body because this sound is received by the hippocampus of the brain producing serotonin, the hormone of well-being, and promoting sleep.
The kitten and the purr
Purring helps mothers recognize their pup and the mother can directly identify them to nurse through their purrs.
At 5 months, their purr is the same as that of adult cats.
The hum oscillates between 20 and 150 Hz
These are frequencies that increase bone density and repair tendons and accelerate wound healing.
Moreover, it is this level of vibration that is used in therapeutic medicine to improve resistance to impact and stimulate growth.
The process of purring
After decades of studying cat purrs, many things have emerged.
In 1960, the hemodynamic theory indicated that the blood circulation of the inferior vena cava was the cause of the purring of the cat, this theory proved to be totally false.
Years later it was the soft palate that was blamed for purring and the larynx was also involved in the process.
There is no doubt that the association of the glottis and the diaphragm are in fact responsible for these vibrations which also occur in other felines such as the cheetah.
The air the cat breathes through the larynx expands and contracts the glottis, which is the part of the larynx that surrounds the vocal cords. This modulation causes the contraction of the diaphragm and therefore an increase in the intensity of the purr.
Therefore, the air vibrates when the cat breathes.
There are many special cases regarding the purring of cats. We have compiled the most common special cases of purring cats for you.
Cat purring loudly
If your cat purrs loudly, it’s often a strong sign of affection or just that he needs something. For example, he may need to eat or drink. In the wild, purring loudly allows them to calm down in the face of a possible threat.
Cat not purring
Don’t worry, your cat not purring is not necessarily a bad sign, some cats meow very little, especially older cats and certain breeds of cats.
Cat that purrs all the time
Kittens purr very often and it’s completely normal for them to purr all the time. It can be a very good sign or something very bad if they seem sick, then it is likely that they are sick and in continuous pain.
If your cat seems unwell or lethargic, take him to the vet.
Cat drooling when purring
Drooling while purring Ftout is often a sign of contentment that dates back to early childhood. It’s usually directly related to breastfeeding when they were babies.
Cat purring while sleeping
A cat that purrs when sleeping is nothing to worry about. When your cat purrs while sleeping, it could be a dream. Cats dream when they are in deep sleep.
Cat that no longer purrs
With age it is normal that your cat does not purr as much as before. But in case he’s not old and the purring stopped immediately, then try to find out what’s stressing him, maybe a change in his environment or an illness that’s affecting him without you seeing it.
Cat coughing when purring
Your cat is coughing because something is bothering her or because she is sick, and purring helps her to relax in the face of this situation. Consult the veterinarian if your cat shows signs of weakness.
Purring and biting cat
Your cat is probably excited and wants to play with you, hence the purring and nipping. Young cats do this very often.
Purring and meowing cat
These are two signs that he is happy and wants your attention, often for cuddles or food.
Sick cat that no longer purrs
Your cat is in pain and it is essential to take him to the veterinarian so that he can find the cause of the problem and provide him with the appropriate treatment.
Rarely purring cat
If your cat seems listless or sick, try to find the cause of his displeasure. If not, maybe your cat isn’t naturally a purr.
Purring cat and runny nose
It can mean two things, the first that he is sick and the second that he is deeply relaxed.
Cat purring at night
If he sleeps with you, it shows a strong social bond with you. It is a sign of trust in you because they are more vulnerable when they sleep.
Cat purring in the morning
Cats are hungry in the morning and purring is a way of communicating this to you.
The final word
In cats, purring can mean a lot and is not just limited to moments of tenderness or relaxation. By understanding why your cat is purring, you will know how to establish a trusting relationship with him and detect possible signs of illness.
Try to see if he does not show signs of illness, for example, and if not, then it is a sign that he is very well in his environment.