Why And How Cats Purr (Surprising Facts About Your Cat’s Purrs)

why and how cats purr

Why and how cats purr is a truly fascinating topic. Whether you’re a cat parent to one, or a cat crazy lady with twenty one kitties, you’ll have heard the familiar sound of purring.

In this post you’ll discover how your cat purrs and why some purr louder than others. Plus, find out why cats not only purr when happy, but when feeling poorly or scared as well.

Why cats purr when giving birth and why kittens purr at just a few days old. You’ll also discover the healing powers of purrs, plus why owning a cat can improve your health and wellbeing.

How do cats purr? (The mechanics behind your kitty’s purring)

Any cat that can’t make a roaring sound purrs. Lions can’t, but pumas, lynx, and cheetahs can. So you see it’s not only domesticated cats that purr but their big cousins as well.

Purring happens when a message sent from the cat’s brain to muscles in the larynx causes them to vibrate. This results in the soothing rumbling sound we all love.

Scientists still don’t know if it’s involuntary or if your cat purrs only when it wants. Of course, we all know you can’t make a cat do something it doesn’t want to!

Not all cats are equal when it comes to purring!

My cat Alfie has the loudest purr when he gets going. He’s a short hair black and white moggie. Nothing fancy, but he sounds like a tractor revving up as he sits on my lap lol!

I’ve owned cats that made the quietest purr, and you had to listen hard. I’ve also had a cat that never seemed to purr no matter how much I stroked her.

All cats are different so don’t worry if your’s doesn’t purr. She doesn’t have anything wrong it’s just the way she is. Maybe your cat uses other ways to show she’s happy.

Slow blinking, licking your hand, or rolling on her back are all signs your kitty is content and happy in your company. Just as we’re all different so are our furry friends.

The healing power of purrs

healing power of purrs

There’s nothing more comforting than curling up with your cat after a hard day and listening to her purr. It’s like all your cares are washed away and you feel safe and loved.

It’s widely believed the vibration from a cats purr has healing powers that benefit both humans and cats. It’s not a myth or an old wives tale.

The vibrational frequency of your cat’s purr is between 25-150 hertz. This is in the healing zone and the lowest range. You can find plenty of binaural beat audios that promote healing at around 26-100 hertz.

Vibrational therapies in the 25-140 hertz range are used to help heal tissue by scientists. The results can be amazing. Low frequency therapy works in a similar way to high impact exercise.

Bones become stronger and muscle tissue reinforces itself. There is a famous quote that says if you put a bunch of broken bones in the same room as a cat, the bones will heal!

Lower your risk of a heart attack!

how cats purr

Cat owners have a 30% less risk of a heart attack or stroke. Of course, other factors come into play but you can see the huge benefits here!

Simply petting and engaging with your cat lowers your level of stress. As we all know, stress can be just as damaging to your health as smoking.

High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks and strokes. The soothing sound of a cat’s purr can help lower your heart rate, making you feel calm and peaceful.

Why your cat’s purr can improve your mental wellbeing

Feeling isolated or lonely can be just as bad for your health as stress. Depression and anxiety are common side effects of loneliness.

Owning a pet gives you a sense of responsibility and you’re no longer on your own. Dogs get you out in the fresh air meeting other dog walkers. Walking releases feel good hormones that improve your mood, making you feel good about yourself.

Cats give you comfort and companionship as well, but in a slightly different way. You can’t take your cat for a walk, but you can stroke her and enjoy the comforting sound of her purrs.

You’ll still benefit from the release of feel good hormones just as you would with a dog. They not only make you feel better but help with pain relief as well.

It’s becoming more popular for pets to visit their owners in hospital or nursing home. Recovery is often quicker and all patients benefit from cuddling a dog or cat.

Why your pregnant cat purrs more than usual

Just as in humans, pregnant felines have strong maternal instincts around the time of birth. Purring more frequently helps your kitty feel calm during final stages of pregnancy.

It’s also thought to act as pain relief during birth, and once the kittens are born, the queen will continue to purr. This is believed to act as a type of lullaby, soothing and comforting her new born babies.

Kittens are born blind and don’t open their eyes for 7-10 days. A mother’s purr helps the bonding process as well as guide them towards the warmth of her body.

Even though newborns can’t see, they can feel the gentle vibrations of their mother’s purr. If you have a queen who’s recently given birth you’ll probably hear her purring. It’s also important not to disturb mother and babies while they’re weaning.

When the kittens reach 3 days old they start to purr. It’s believed to be a form of communication letting mum know they’re ok.

A purring cat isn’t always a happy kitty

Purring as you now know has healing powers. Your cat not only purrs when happy but also if she’s in pain or unwell. It’s a bit like self medicating.

Cats normally rest until they feel better, conserving as much energy as possible. Your kitty will spend a good part of the day sleeping and if she’s off colour you can expect her to sleep even more.

Your kitty is a master at hiding pain and you may have no idea she’s suffering until she goes off her food or tries to hide from you. Always take your cat to the vet if you suspect something isn’t quite right

Dying cats often purr in their last hours as a way of coping. The release of endorphins help manage pain and provide comfort. There’s no guarantee your elderly kitty will purr in her final moments on earth but you’ll notice other signs.

In this post you’ve discovered why and how cats purr, plus the amazing health benefits of owning one of these remarkable creatures. We’ve also looked at how your pregnant kitty manages pain relief during birth, and how she keeps her newborns close by.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this article and I’d love you to share any experiences you’ve had with purring kitties! Please feel free to leave any comments below.

Wishing you a purrfect day 🙂
Kathy

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3 comments

  1. I have learned alot from reading your post about cat purrs. I always thought that cats purr to show happiness. Little did i know that it could indicate unhappiness or discomfort. Excellent post. Thanks!

    1. Thank you Lawrence. Yes, most people believe cats only purr when they’re happy. I’ve even read that cats sometimes purr when being examined at the vets as a way of calming themselves down. I must try that next time I’m at the doctors 🙂

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