Explaining Cat Behavior: Why Do Cats Purr?

May 29, 2024 | Cats, Optimum Nutrition | 0 comments

Why do cats purr

Out of all the unique noises cats tend to make, purring is among their most distinct sounds as the vibrations from it can even be felt. Most people perceive cat purrs to be a method for them to communicate happiness and relaxation, however, this fascinating sound actually stems from a variety of different feline emotions and intentions. The reason your cat may purr generally depends on the context and time of day, so let’s explore all the common reasons why our furry friend’s purr.

What Is My Purring Cat Trying to Tell Me?

While we’ll never know exactly what cats are trying to tell us with a purr, we can make informed predications based on the situation. This soft, continuous, relaxing sound can mean a whole host of differing intentions, including:

  • Display Affection, Contentment, or Happiness: To tackle the most obvious reason first, your cat may often purr when they’re cuddling up and you’re rubbing their fur. This is an obvious sign that your cat feels relaxed and comfortable in your presence. You also may notice your furry friend purring when you arrive home from work, this is a signal that they’re happy you’ve returned home safely.
  • To Communicate Hunger: During breakfast and dinner hours, you may notice your cat rubbing up against your leg, meowing, and purring in a method to remind you that they’re hungry.
  • Gain Your Attention: While cats are historically independent creatures, there are times where they may purr or meow at you purely to express that they’d like you to pet them, play with them, or just simply show them more attention.
  • Learnt Behavior from Their Mother: Due to not being able to see in their first few weeks of life, kittens purr when they’re only a few days old in a way to communicate with their mothers. Researchers believe that purring, serving as a sort of lullaby, is used as a method for kittens and mothers to bond.
  • Healing Properties: Similar as a child sucking their thumb, purring can relax a cat that’s experiencing high levels of stress and anxiety. Some researchers even suggest that low frequency purrs create a series of bodily vibrations that can actually assist in healing their bones, repairing muscles and tendons, ease their breathing, and lessen swelling.

Cats can also sometimes purr when they’re overstimulated, perhaps from being pet too often or being played with too hastily. If a purr is followed by an aggressive bite, don’t feel offended, and definitely don’t punish your cat as this is a natural behavior. Instead, try to stay calm and give your cat the personal time they need. While purring usually indicates that your cat is healthy and happy, it’s important to take your furry friend to the veterinarian if this sound is accompanied with vomiting, lethargy, or other uncommon behaviors.

How Do Cats Purr?

Given how unique of a sound purring is, it’s fascinating to understand how felines achieve this audible tone. Purring starts from the cat’s brain, which sends a message to the muscles around their larynx to twitch at 25-to-150 vibrations per second. As the cat inhales and exhales, the air that passes over the vibrating chords causes the specific purring sound. Depending on the breed of cat, purring can vary between high and low pitch. Additionally, it’s important to note that big cats (tigers, lions, panthers, etc.) don’t have the ability to purr as they lack a small bone in the back of their throat called a hyoid.

Dietary Requirement for Cats

Given how purring can indicate your cat’s desire to heal from both pain and anxiety, it’s vital to understand that your purring feline may be lacking in their nutritional intake. For an optimum diet, be sure to sprinkle a scoop of Dr. Bill’s Feline Ultimate Fitness & Health on their food every day. Feline Fitness & Health is a delicious, concentrated nutritional powder, scientifically formulated to provide a balanced blend of 50-nutrients that support optimum fitness and health in growing, physically mature, and senior cats. Designed to promote a strong, lean body, a healthy immune system, a balanced digestive tract, flexible joints, plus healthy eye, heart and brain function. Feline Fitness & Health is safe for growing and adult cats of all ages.

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