Why Do Cats Purr? It’s Not Just Because They’re Happy

Surely more than once, you have heard your cat purr. If you are curious about this sound that the kittens make, keep reading. We explain why cats purr and what their benefits are.

Cats have their language and communicate with us through their behavior, meows, and purring, an expression that can have many meanings.

Why do cats purr?

Several scientific theories explain why cats produce this sound. However, there is still no definitive study, perhaps because the situations in which cats emit the sound are very varied.

For example, cats purr when they feel good. If your cat is comfortable, happy, and calm, you will surely hear it purr for several seconds or minutes. But the purring is not always positive. This sound can also indicate hunger, nerves, or pain.

Scientists say that when cats purr, sensitive endorphins are released that help them calm down. This may explain the fact that cats produce these vibrations when they are injured, threatened, or even before they die.

Have you heard your kitten purr while waiting at the vet’s office? This is another stressful situation, and surely purring helps to calm its nerves.

Purring, a natural cure

Some studies assure that purring could have a healing effect, promote healing, and increase the bone density of our kittens, depending on the frequency of these vibrations.

Another analysis published by the journal Current Biology, states that if your cat purrs lower, it is because he wants to relax or calm his nerves. While if he does it higher, it is because he wants to attract attention and get something in return, such as food or pampering.

How do cats purr?

Cats can constantly purr while breathing. Also, if you have multiple cats, you may notice that the purring can vary in tone or style.

Various theories explain how this sound is produced, the most widespread being the one involving the larynx and the diaphragm.

According to this hypothesis, the purring originates in this organ, specifically in the ventricular folds (also known as false vocal cords), and occurs after a deviation of the passage of air and the intervention of the diaphragm.

Still, how cats purr remains a great mystery. Of course, what is really proven is that, at the time of purring, the heart and respiratory rate of cats increases and remains elevated throughout the time they are emitting the vibrations.

When do cats start purring?

As young as two days old, kittens are already able to purr to communicate with their mother. Some even do it before opening their eyes.

Why do cats purr from a young age? The mother’s purring is said to allow kittens to guide themselves when they still have limited senses of hearing, sight, and smell, while the kitten’s sounds help them communicate with their mother and express their needs.

Thanks to purring, a bond is created between the cat and her young that helps them calm down and feel protected.

In conclusion, purring in cats occurs when they feel happy, but also when they are hungry or nervous, as it helps them release endorphins and feel calmer. And as a last curious fact, did you know that cats are not the only animals that purr? The cougar, cheetah, and serval also make this peculiar sound.

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