As a cat owner I have often wondered, “Why do cats purr?”
Felines are the only animals that display this behavior – and they all do it.
It’s not only the little domesticated cats that we all know and love – the big cats do it too – lions, tigers, etc.
Feeling Healthy and Content
Don’t you get the feeling that your cat is healthy and content when you hear her purring? I sure do.
It is like all her needs – food, shelter, comfort, security, and peace of mind are all being met. As a cat owner – it is a wonderful feeling.
When my cats are in my lap and I’m petting them – they seem to be in their most contented state. The purring is like a background rhythm or song to their grooming and then it lulls them off to sleep.
And, I have to admit – it makes me drowsy as well. It’s like they’re lulling me to sleep too.
I notice that at times the purring is louder and more frantic. This is especially true at feeding time. When my cats see me grab a can of cat food or a bag of dry food their purring gets out of control.
It’s almost as if they are having trouble drawing in a regular breath of air – but they don’t seem to be struggling, they are ecstatic.
Times of Distress
I have a cat right now that purrs at all times – good and bad. Of course she purrs during times of comfort and contentment. But she also purrs when she’s sick, injured, or at the veterinarian.
She even purrs when the Vet is giving her a shot or taking her temperature. Now that’s pretty incredible.
This seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom that says – “Cats purr because they are happy or content.” This made me wonder even more why cats purr.
Reasons for Cat Purring
I did a little research and discovered that cats purr for a variety of reasons and scientists can only speculate why. I guess you could say that it is not yet an exact science.
It could be as a survival instinct when a kitten is newly born. The Mother kitty will purr to keep her blind and vulnerable newborn kittens from straying too far.
And newborn kittens purr to keep their Mother nearby. Who knows, maybe each individual purr is distinct to a Mother kitty – and she can keep track of every one of them at all times.
An interesting study found that a cat’s purring produces vibrations within a certain frequency that promotes bone strength and physical healing. This would explain why a cat purrs when they’re sick or injured. And it explains why we feel so comforted when holding a purring feline.
Others theorize that cats purr as a sign of peace or friendship in a threatening situation – human or other feline. It helps to put the other threatening creature at ease.
How Does a Cat Purr?
How a cat purrs is another thing that is not known 100% for sure either. But some scientists think that it has to do with a cat’s vocal folds and the vibrations they make when air is inhaled and exhaled.
Cats are Pretty Special Creatures
No matter how or why a cat purrs – it’s just one of the many things that makes cats such a special and one of a kind pet. Is there any other pet that can give you more comfort and peace when you’re holding it?
I know that after a stressful day, I can pick up my cat and it seems like all the stress just melts away as I’m taken captive by those soothing purrs.