Why Do Cats Purr
Purring is the most common sound cats make. When your cat is curled up in the sun, you may hear a gentle rumble as he breaths in and out. Touch the cat, and you feel a little quiver as if sending waves of calm. Most of us think of purring as the sign of a happy, cheerful cat. However, cats purr to communicate other motions and needs as well (pain, fear, etc,).
Purring may have developed in the feline as a mechanism to keep bones and muscles in peak condition, as when cats purr, signals are sent to the muscles of the voice box as well as the diaphragm, which expands the chest when breathing. These signals stimulate the cat’s vocal cords to vibrate, so as the cat breathes, the air moves across these twitching muscles, generating the purring sound. The reason why purring is nearly continuous is that cats purr both while inhaling and exhaling.
Why Is Your Cat Purring
Many different reasons can cause cats to purr, and that is why the theories as to why they do it are multiple:
Cat is happy.
This form of communication tells you that life is nice and that the cat is very happy with the current situation. Cats probably also associate their purrs with positive interactions with you.
Cat is self-medicating.
Purring can be also used as a form of self-medication and pain control. According to studies, cats purr at frequencies that help to stimulate the healing of bones and tendons. These frequencies can also reduce pain, ease breathing, and build muscles.
The cat is hungry or wants something.
Some cats purr when it’s mealtime and that kind of purring does not sound the same. When cats purr for food, they combine their normal purr with an unpleasant cry or “mew” and according to experts believe we’re more likely to respond to this sound.
The cat is calming down.
Sometimes cats can purr during their visit to the vet. In that situation, purring is used as a mechanism for self-calming and stress reduction. Cats are often seen to be purring almost “to themselves” when they are frightened scared, and anxious.
Cat is guiding their kittens.
The vibrations that are produced during purring help lead kittens to their mother. Kittens are born blind and deaf, and they depend on the mother cat to provide the first milk.
So how do you know what your cat is trying to say when they purr? Ultimately, the quest to define the meaning of a purr may benefit from a deeper knowledge of our cats’ body language, which will also grow the bond with our felines.
Photo: Sabri Tuzcu
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