Why Do Cats Purr?

Why do cats purr? Is a question that cat lovers often ask themselves.

Pet your cat, stroke her, pick her up and cuddle her and she is quite likely to reward you with a long soothing purr.

Does you cat like being petted? Of course she does, she is not likely to allow you to do it if she didn't.

So it would seem it is easy to answer the question “Why is it that cats purr?” with the answer “Because they are content.”

Contented cats do indeed purr, but . . .

. . . contentment is not the only reason that cats make that rumbling vocal sound.

Domestic cats are known to purr for a number of reasons and in a number of circumstances.

Purring In Pain

It seems to be contradictory, but some cats not only purr when they are happy or content but also when they are ill, or in pain and even when about to die.

Female cats purr while they deliver kittens. It could be argued that this is because they are happy to be producing a litter, but they will also be in pain and discomfort, yet they purr.

lazy tabby cat

Why do cats purr when they are ill?

There are several theories. It is thought that an unwell or injured cat may find purring to be comforting, it helps to calm the cat down.

Others believe that the purr may help the healing process.

Why do cats purr when they are injured?

Yet another theory is that a sick or injured cat purrs to signal, to other cats or other predatory animals, that it is not a threat. Again, some feel that a sick cat may use the vocal rumble to plead for care from humans.

My own experience of a cat purring when injured was when a much loved cat companion of mine, Basil, came off the worse after a meeting with a moving motor vehicle.

The poor Tabby's hind leg was flattened and almost stripped of flesh. He must have been in considerable pain, and yet he was purring away like mad.

Was this a plea for me to help him? Was he comforting himself? Was this an involuntary reaction, part of a cat's natural healing mechanism? Quite possibly the purring could have been any or all of these things.

Naturally my concern was to get him to a veterinarian as soon as possible, so I did not notice how long the purring lasted or whether he still purred when we arrived at the vets.

But I could not have failed to hear that sound when I first found him injured, it was a very loud and clear vibrating rumble, a very definite demonstration to me that cats do not only purr when they are content.

Why Do Cats Purr? Purring From a Nervous Cat.

A cat that is nervous, stressed or upset may respond by purring and may feel some comfort by doing so.

Could this be the feline equivalent of whistling in the dark?

A cat may approach another cat, not to fight over territory, but to be friends. Purring in this instance, may be just one of the ways the cat signals that she or he means no harm.

Cats mainly communicate with their body language, the purring may be an additional way of indicating friendliness, the feline equivalent of smiling perhaps?

Why Do Kittens Purr?

A kitten is able to purr a few days after being born, they can purr long before they can meow, and they can do so while suckling the mother cat's nipple.

The mom cat may purr back in response, thus a communication is established that reassures mom and kitten that all is well.

Newborn kittens are not able to see or hear, but they are able to feel the vibrations of their mother's purring.

It is believed that mom's purrs can help guide her kittens to her nipples.

Why Do Cats Purr? Purring May Be Good For You!

black catCats are known to purr for a number of reasons and in a number of circumstances.

No matter what the message your cat is communicating, those vibrating rumbles could be therapeutic for you as well as your cat.

You could find that holding your purring kitty, or siting with her purring away in your lap, is first class stress relief treatment.

Nursing homes and other health facilities have long known that those in their care can benefit from having access to pets, and cats are perhaps the most popular of therapy pets.

It is very comforting to stroke a cat of course, but whilst it has not been scientifically proven, many people believe that it is the purring that makes the patients feel so much better.

Why Do Cats Purr? New Research.

Very recent research carried out at the University of Sussex in England concludes that some cats may use a special kind of purr to prompt their humans into feeding them, or giving them attention.

Researchers state that this Soliciting Purr, as they have named it, is a subtle mix of normal purring and a Cry that has a similar frequency to the crying of a human baby.

A cat's human may have learned not to respond to their feline meowing for food, or may react by putting the cat outside the room.

However, as the cry is at a low level within the purring the human may not even be aware of it, or be conscious of the fact that they are being manipulated by their pet.

Not every cat employs the soliciting purr, but it seems that those who do have learned to use it after experiencing success at getting what they want.

So now you know that the question “Why do cats purr” can have many answers. But for whatever reason they do it, it sure is good to have a purring cat in your lap.

Cat Bite : Being bitten by a cat can be serious.
A cat bite can be painful but the after effects of the bite may look pretty mild. The puncture wounds may appear to heal quickly and may look little cause for concern. Don't be fooled.

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