Cats Purr To Show A Need
Since cats dont communicate with words, they have to use other means to show what they want. Purring is one such method of communicating. Whether they are waiting for their food or sitting patiently waiting for a treat, a purring cat is showing you they want something. Its not a sign of happiness to receive the treat, rather they are letting you know that they want the treat. This can also apply to toys and attention. Even if your kitty just wants some attention from you, he or she might purr to let you know what they want.
What Is The Mechanism Behind This Purring Sound Lets Find Out
The how was long a subject of debate. Some thought it was linked to blood flowing to the inferior vena cava, a vein that carries deoxygenated blood to the right side of the heart.
But with more research it seemed likelier that the noise came from the muscles within the cats larynx. As they move, they dilate and constrict the glottis the part of the larynx that surrounds the vocal cords and the air vibrates every time the cat breathes in or out. The result? A purr.
In a cat, the signal to purr travels from the brain to the muscles in the voice box, and this message tells the muscles there its time to purr, so they start acting as a valve for air flowing past the voice box.
The muscles work both during inhalation and exhalation, which creates the sound and seems to run continuously and endlessly. The air passes through the valve, which opens and closes rapidly to create the purring sound all cat lovers love so much!
The Bond Between Kitten And Mother
Have you noticed even your kitten pets purring? This means that they are signalizing to their mother that they are fine and happy.
Also, cat mothers very often use purring as a way of helping their little ones with orientation.
Since kittens are born blind, this helps them a lot to feel secure and taken care of.
Another function of purring is like a form of a lullaby that mothers use to help kittens sleep peacefully.
This is a very important part of their bond.
Also Check: Pete The Cat Art Projects
How Are You Going To Decide Why Your Cat Is Purring
What does it mean when a cat purrs loudly? Although purring isnt just a sign of contentment, youre not expected to start in panic mode the next time you hear the noise. Theres a reason people equate it with happiness its still the primary reason youll find your cat purring. They can purr when theyre hurt or in pain, but its more often a sign of contentment among our furry companions.
The best way to find out your cats message is by looking at whats going on. Whether its dinner time, or if the amount of purging is a little higher, your fuzzy buddy may have food on the brain. If your kitty nips at you or swipes with her paws, shes probably irritated or mad even if shes purring. Also, listen to your cats constant, insistent vocalization, if thats possible.
Theyre Hungry Or They Want More
Some cats purr when its time to feed. British researchers have researched the sounds that house cats make when theyre hungry and when food isnt in their minds. The purrs dont sound the same.
When cats purr for food, they mix their usual purr with an unpleasant cry or mew, a little like a human childs cry. Experts agree that were more likely to react to this sound. Theyve noticed that people can tell the difference between purrs, even if theyre not cat owners.
You May Like: Interesting Facts About Calico Cats
We Respond To A Cats Purr As A Calming Stimulus Weitzman
“I think the purr has a big benefit for humans,” says Weitzman. “The physiological benefits aside, weve always responded to purrings psychological effects. It calms us and pleases us, like watching waves against a beach. We respond to a cats purr as a calming stimulus and may have even genetically selected cats with more propensity to purr.
Haddon agrees. If it is winding round your feet, looking up at you, glancing towards the food cupboard or the fridge, you cannot miss the signs together with the loud purring that say it wants its food now!
In the morning loud purring can be used, together with human face patting or rubbing, to wake up a human and thus get breakfast. Most of us feed the cat before ourselves, which shows how effective their communication is.
Ultimately, the quest to define the meaning of a purr may benefit from getting to know cats body language better from the periscope tail of a friendly cat in sociable mood to the wide eyes and bent-back whiskers of a cat in fight mode. With this deeper knowledge, the bond between cat and owner can only grow.
Join 900,000+ Future fans by liking us on;;or;.
If you liked this story,;, called If You Only Read 6 Things This Week. A handpicked selection of stories from BBC Future, Culture, Capital, and Travel, delivered to your inbox every Friday.;
Why & How Do Cats Purr
You’re probably familiar with your cat’s unique purr, but deciphering what she’s feeling when she purrs can be complicated. While purring is often associated with contented, happy cats, it can sometimes indicate other things. Considering the circumstances she’s in can help you determine the true meaning behind her purr.
Don’t Miss: What Was Gargamel’s Cat’s Name
Why Do The Cats Purr
No one really knows for sure why cats purr. There are guesses, assumptions, and some documented reasons.
Even though science is now fairly sure this is the process, theres no definitive answer as to what triggers the response.
The biggest clue is a neural oscillator deep within the cats brain, one that otherwise has no clear purpose.
Were just beginning to understand it and there are more unanswered questions than answered.;
-Gary Weitzman, a veterinarian and CEO of the San Diego Humane Society.
Does The Purring Of Your Cat Have Benefits For You
Petting a cat has long been seen as a form of stress relief cat ownership could cut the risk of stroke or heart disease by as much one-third. Those same frequencies cats purr at might also be doing good to us as well.
The physiological benefits aside, weve always responded to purrings psychological effects. It calms us and pleases us, like watching waves against a beach.
We respond to a cats purr as a calming stimulus and may have even genetically selected cats with more propensity to purr.
Also Check: Huffing Cat Urine
What Is That Mysterious Calming Sound Of Love
Before we try to unravel the mystery behind why a cat purrs, let us get a little deeper into the biology of purring what is that sound and how is it different from any other vocalizations of the cat?
Well, its true. The purr is indeed different from other forms of vocalizations of the cat in that the purr is produced during an entire respiratory cycle, i.e. inhaling and exhaling, as opposed to other vocalizations of the cat, such as a meow, which occurs only during the exhaling part of the respiratory cycle.
What Is The Purpose Of Purring
If the purr can mean so many different things, whats the point of it? Some scientists believe that purring is a form of communication, only meant for those the cat and those nearest to it. Low-frequency vocalizations like purring are often associated with positive social situations in the animal kingdom. They are generally uttered when nursing, grooming, relaxing or generally being amiable.;
Read Also: Why Do Some Cats Purr Louder Than Others
Is It Normal For A Cat To Purr A Lot
All cats are different, some never purr and some will purr constantly, she says. Ive witnessed a lot of cats purring when theyre dying, and when theyre being put to sleep. The vet will say something like They were purring right up until the end, and people assume theyre happy when theyre purring.
Do We Know Exactly How Cats Produce The Purring Sound
Cats have no particular muscles or organs that make them purr. Instead, it’s a combination of rapid movements of the laryngeal muscles around the larynx and the diaphragm When your cat inhales and exhales, the air bounces of the vibrating muscles, creating that distinct purring noise. ;Every cat has its own unique style of purring. Some felines emit of low rumbling sound, while others can be loud enough to hear in the next room!
So now you understand why and how cats purr, make an extra effort to always listen to the tone of your kitty’s purr.;They might be trying to tell you that everything isn’t ok!;However, most of the time, these cute furballs are just expressing how happy and content they feel!
Don’t Miss: Cat Age Vs Human Years
His Purrs Are Healing
Did you know that purrs can heal? It’s true: the low vibrations of a purr can actually promote healing. Domestic cats purr at a frequency that promotes tissue regeneration. This is one of the reasons cats sometimes purr when they’re scared or sick. Some people even think the vibration of a purr can be healing to humans too! In fact, some purr-like vibration devices are patented to help astronauts with bone density problems.
Confusing Kitties Why Does My Cat Purr Then Bite
Are you confused when your cat is snuggling on your lap, purring, seemingly content, you are gently stroking them and all is harmonious then they turn around and bite you?
Rest assured, this is not unusual! Some kitty lovers call this a love bite, others call it petting aggression. Its a controversial subject but its believed that if your cat suddenly bites you for no apparent reason, it could be because they are being overstimulated by the constant stroking – which you thought they were enjoying!
Another theory is that repetitive stroking creates static electricity on your cats coat, causing little shocks – which would of course make them react adversely. Or your cat may have a painful joint that you inadvertently touch when you are stroking – this could be the case if your cat is elderly.
Whatever the reason, petting induced aggression, or defensive biting can be prevented by promotion socialization from an early age. The amount of petting a cat tolerates can be influenced by their experiences with humans when they are a young kitten, so spending time with your kitty when they are small is key!
Don’t Miss: What Was In The Cat’s Mind Rick And Morty
How Can You Determine Why Your Cat Is Purring
Though purring isnt;only;a sign of contentment, you shouldnt launch into panic mode the next time you hear the noise. Theres a reason people associate it with happinessit is still the primary reason youll find your cat purring. They may purr when they have been injured or are in pain, but among our furry companions it is more often a sign of contentment, Rotman explains.; By the way, have you ever wondered why cats are afraid of cucumbers?
The best way to figure out your cats message is by looking at what else is going on. If its dinnertime, or if the frequency of the purring is a little higher, your furry friend might have food on the brain. If your kitty nips at you or swipes with her paws, shes probably annoyed or madeven if shes purring. Also be listening for continuous, insistent vocalizing from your cat, whether thats purring or, more commonly, meowing . If the vocalizing goes on for 24 to 36 hours, this could be one of the signs your healthy cat is actually sick. But a cat purring away while curled up on your lap is probably just enjoying your company. Next, learn the mistakes cat owners should never make.
Why Do Cats Purr Around Their Owner
Some cats, on the other hand, purr while they are sick or afraid and want to express their concern to you through purring.
On any case, some cats purr.
For example, I have a cat that purrs when he is happy and content, as well as when he is afraid, such as when he is getting blood drawn. The purr is frequently unique.
When hes happy, he moves at a slower, more comfortable pace; when hes afraid, he moves at a quicker, more frantic pace.
Some behaviourists claim that the purr is soothing to the animal, and that it is used for self-comfort in cases such as when they are afraid.
Nothing beats the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you come home after a long, tiring day at work and are welcomed by your little fluffy babys comforting, never-ending purr.
This cats spontaneous vibratory phenomenon has been presenting more and more data to support the argument that owning a pet is naturally therapeutic.
If youre an animal lover, youll get what Im talking about. In any way, the love you get from an animal is unconditional.
No one knows for certain why cats purr. There are some educated guesses, conclusions, and written explanations.
About the fact that science is now reasonably certain that this is the mechanism, there is no conclusive answer as to what causes the reaction. The most important hint is a neuronal oscillator deep inside the cats head, which has no obvious function.
Recommended Reading: What Was Gargamel’s Cat’s Name
Housecats Arent The Only Ones Who Purr
Purring isnt the sole domain of domestic cats. Some wild cats and their near relatives – civets, genets, mongooses – also purr. Even hyenas, guinea pigs, and raccoons can purr.
Cats that purr, such as mountain lions and bobcats, cant roar, however. And cats that roar, such as lions and tigers, cant purr. The structures surrounding their voice box arent stiff enough to produce a purr.
But it appears these cats evolved the roar for good reason — mainly to protect their prides, says Benjamin L. Hart, DVM, PhD, distinguished professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine.
If youre a big cat and you have to move around a lot to get prey, loud roaring plays a huge part in maintaining your territory, Hart says.
But small cats are loners and dont compete with each other for meals, Hart says. Their communication doesnt need to be far-reaching. For them, scent marking does the territorial trick .
Why Do Cats Purr When You Stroke Them The How
Purring involves the laryngeal muscles within the cats larynx . These muscles move, dilate and constrict, combined with the help of their diaphragm .
As your feline inhales and exhales, the vibrating muscles move at 25 to 150 per second, causing a separation of the vocal cords. This produces a delightful, soothing purr.
Don’t Miss: Croton Safe For Cats
Cats Communicate With Their Eyes
- If the eyes are wide:;The cat is alert. Other cues will tell you if the cat is relaxed or;threatened.
- If the eyes are;narrowed:;The cat is alert, but may be fearful or aggressive. Look for other;cues.
- If the eyes are;lazily open or closed:;The cat is;relaxed.
- Pupil dilation is also important:;Wide pupils can signal high interest, excitement, or possibly fear or;aggression.
Cats Purr To Calm Themselves
While its true that cats purr during moments of extreme relaxation, animal experts believe cats also purr when theyre experiencing high amounts of stress or pain, such as during a vet visit and even when giving birth.
Scientists believe cats purr to calm themselves, meaning theyre just as likely to do it in a stressful or painful situation as they are when curled up in their owners lap. The low-frequency vibrations that purring creates help them ease their breathing and soothe tension.
Read Also: What Was The Cats Name On The Smurfs
Why Do Cat’s Purr
The sound of a cat purring is a wonderful noise, but why do cats purr? Its a noise few other animals make, with even some close relatives of the domestic cat unable to do it. Owners often take purring to be assurance of their cats contentment; however, to assume this underestimates the nuances these noises can communicate. In the same way a human might laugh or cry for a range of reasons, cats purr for different reasons too.
In this post, James Wellbeloved helps owners to understand their cats better, by exploring this feline language and answering the question why do cats purr?
People Assume Theyre Happy When Theyre Purring Thats Just Not Always The Case Marjan Debevere
Part of the mystery around the purr is that we often only notice cats purring when we tickle them in places that they like to be tickled, says Debevere. Yet they also purr when were not around, and the extent of that purring varies between individuals. All cats are different, some never purr and some will purr constantly, she says. She draws the comparison between her cat Luigi a stray who followed someone in to their office and was subsequently taken to a shelter and Archie, who moved in from next door and became part of the family. Luigi purrs little, and Archie a lot.
Ive photographed more than 3,000 cats so far and no two are the same, Debevere says. Ive witnessed a lot of cats purring when theyre dying, and when theyre being put to sleep. The vet will say something like They were purring right up until the end, and people assume theyre happy when theyre purring. Thats just not always the case.
The study of cats behaviour and communication has lagged behind that of dogs, which are usually more willing participants, especially if there is a reward of food involved. But in recent years more light has been shed on the purr.
Also Check: What Was The Name Of Hp Love Cats Cat