There is just something about hearing cats purr that puts me at ease.
I’ve always attributed cats purring as being happy and relaxed…but are cats purring because they are happy or is there something else going on?
Learn everything you need to know about why your cat purrs. I hope to not only satisfy your curiosity by answering the question of “Why do cats purr?”, but also provide you with other valuable, relevant information on why cats purr.
First, let’s learn why cats purr. Then learn more details about a cat’s purr including whether all cats purr and what it means when your cat is purring louder than usual.
No reason to provide any further introduction let’s jump right into why cats purr!
Why Do Cats Purr?
Research has shown that cats purr for many different reasons. Cats can purr when they need to calm down from being stressed or anxious, to ease breathing during labor, and for comfort when they are ill.
Researchers also believe a cat purrs to help strengthen and heal their bodies when injured.
Think of it as a way some humans “whoosah“…but for cats, they purr.
Purring is a stress reliever and a self-soothing way for cats to stay calm when they are afraid or nervous.
So you might find that your cat purrs more when you take them to the vet.
Being at the veterinarian may make the cat nervous or distressed and thus, more purring will occur.
Do Cats Purr When They Are Happy?
Many people believe that cats are purring because they are happy, but this isn’t always the case. Sometimes, they will indeed purr when they are happy and relaxed, but as mentioned above, there are many other reasons that your cat may purr.
They may also purr when they believe they are about to get food or when you get ready to feed them.
If you feel like your cat is purring more than usual, just keep an eye on it for any potential problems, such as an injury, or look for something that may be making the cat nervous or afraid.
How Do Cats Make the Purring Sound?
Cats draw air across their vocal cords to produce the soothing, buzzing tone that we know as purring. This tone comes in at a frequency between 20 to 150 HZ, which is a frequency range that researchers believe helps cats accelerate healing, strengthen bone density, and promote muscle growth.
Studies have shown that frequency ranges between 18 to 35 HZ can have a positive effect on joint mobility after an injury.
Many scientists have begun discussing whether or not a cat’s purr can help humans with their joint issues after injury since some cats’ purrs will fall within this frequency range.
Why Does Your Cat Purr While Sleeping?
Purring while sleeping usually occurs during the lighter phases of a cat’s sleep or right as the cat goes to sleep and tapers off as the cat goes into a deeper sleep.
There has been no research that I can find showing that a cat’s purr while sleeping is any different than when the cat is awake.
So there is no real difference as to why your cat is purring while it is awake and when the cat sleeps.
Is Your Cat Purring Louder Than Usual?
No two cats purr the same and most cats will purr louder or softer than other cats. If your cat is purring louder than usual based on what you are used to, this may just mean your cat is just really happy.
Cats may start to purr louder with age, so keep that in mind as well.
You should worry about your cat’s purr if it is louder than usual and if you see other signs of stress or discomfort with the cat.
If the cat’s purr is louder than usual because of an injury or a stress-related issue, there will typically be other signs to watch out for.
If your cat seems relaxed and comfortable and does not appear to have any discomfort or any other unusual signs or behavior, there is probably nothing to worry about.
But if you do feel like something may be wrong, please do not hesitate to contact your local veterinarian and get your cat a checkup.
Do All Domestic Cats Purr?
No, not all domestic cats purr. Scientists aren’t exactly sure why this is, but research studies have led some to believe that some otherwise healthy cats may just lack the bone structure in their vocal cords to produce a purring sound.
If your cat doesn’t purr, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with your cat from a health perspective.
It may just mean that your cat either doesn’t want to purr or lacks the ability.
Do Kittens Purr?
Kittens do learn to purr. Kittens start purring a few days to a few weeks after birth and continue to purr into adulthood.
Kittens tend to become more vocal as they become more active when they begin to start walking, and when they start to explore their surroundings.
Some of this timely purring may be a way for the kitten to signal to the mother cat their location when the kitten is away from the mother cat and exploring.
But this also may be a way for the kitten to stay calm as it does explore and venture out into that big, new world it has just been exposed to.
Do Wild Cats Purr?
Some wild cats purr. Even other species of animals can purr such as the raccoon, hyenas, and guinea pigs.
Any big wild cats like lions and tigers that roar don’t purr because these big cats lack the firm bone structure surrounding their vocal cord to produce a purring sound.
In roaring cats, this bone is too flexible to produce a purring sound. In domestic cats, this bone is more firm allowing for the purring sound.
The general rule of thumb is that if the cat can roar, it can not purr. If the cat can purr, it can not roar.
The vocal structures and processes that produce both the purr and the roar are different.
If the cat can make a purring sound, it doesn’t have the right vocal structure to make a roaring sound, and vice versa.
I hope this article has helped you learn everything you would ever want to know about why your cat purrs and why any cat purrs.
I find it very interesting the way a cat can calm itself down by purring. If only humans could start learning how to purr, then maybe we wouldn’t be so stressed all the time. 🙂
If you’ve read this article because your cat has been purring louder than usual, try not to stress yourself out too much.
Just remember the signs I mentioned and consult with a vet if you think there is a problem with your cat.
I can sit here and give you all the advice in the world about why your cat is purring loudly or more than usual, but the truth is that you know your cat better than anyone else.
So, if you sense a problem, get it checked out with your local vet.
Most of the information provided here is based on scientific research, but we still don’t understand everything about a cat’s purr, why some are louder and more frequent than others, and why some don’t even purr at all.
Maybe we will get there someday with the research and better understand everything about cats and purring.
But today, these are the best answers we can provide.
If you like this article, why not give a similar article a view and see what it means when a cat meows? The answer may surprise you!