Why does a cat purr?
Cats are among the most favorite pets that we love, and keep in our homes. Their calmness and their behavior are quite impressive. If you have kept your cat for a long time then you might have partly understood their behavior. Normally, when a cat meows it is easy to tell that it is hungry right? However, there is something unique about cats that has been the subject of many discussions. This is the aspect of why the cat purrs. Most pet owners can’t tell why their cat is purring. I recently asked a taxonomist about this phenomenon and after the discussion, I concluded it is a complicated behavior.
Most people love the soothing sound especially during bedtime because it is a rhythmic progression that can easily lure you to sleep. You might have realized that when a cat is purring it normally closes its eyes and the sound is different from the meows. Most pet owners have always ignored this aspect about cats and some had even assumed that it is because the cat is happy. That might not be the case. Well to start us off I know you might be asking yourself where does this sound come from? The purring vibrations come from the diaphragm and the larynx anytime when the cat is inhaling or exhaling. This makes it a continuous rhythm. If you closely examine your pet you will get to know things which have never caught your attention. Therefore journey with me as we unveil this mystery.
How do Cats Purr?
Scientists have admitted that cats are wired differently. This is because purring is an exceptional sound that you can rarely see in other pets. A comparison was done between a meow and purring and the conclusion was that they are completely different. I know there are other cat sounds like hissing, but you will realize it is not continuous. It only happens a couple of times and it stops. Purring is facilitated by the connection between the brain and the laryngeal muscles. When the diaphragm is letting air in and out the air triggers the vocal cords to vibrate thus producing the purring sound.
It has remained a mystery as to why the cat family Felidae has different purring frequencies. Assumptions were made that could be attributed to size and age. There is an element of truth in such a hypothesis because the purring sound between a kitten and the mother differs. However, research is still being done to give a substantial explanation to that. Therefore, when the cat is purring you will notice it is in accordance with the steady breath,which explains why there is continuous vibration of the larynx muscle which enables the cat to purr.
Now that you have such a basic explanation as to how the cat is purring then we can proceed and have an insight on what this purring means to the pet owner. Remember, if you own a cat or any other pet you will not expect them to talk about how they feel. It is up to you to try and know what certain behaviors could imply so that you give your pet your best care. Just like humans they also feel hungry, emotional and sick. That is why by closely studying some of these phenomena you will be in a good place to know more about your cat.
Why does a Cat Purr?
Time and again people have been curious to know about this phenomenon. If you are reading this article count yourself lucky because I will exclusively highlight some of the possible causes of why the cat purrs. To start us off I must say a cat can purr straight from the time it was a kitten. Therefore, don’t be surprised or mislead that it could be a medical condition. Some people have failed to understand this and they might have contacted their nearest Veterinary thinking maybe the cat is choked. That is not the case because it is a normal process. As I had said earlier it is a result of the connection between the brain and the breathing system. You might have noticed, that when you distract your cat when it purrs it immediately stops because the connection is immediately compromised. Therefore, the following are reasons why the cat is purring.
She is happy
Well, cats are emotional beings like humans. They have their good and their bad days too. Therefore, just like humans when they are happy you will see them smiling or laughing. Cats also display their happiness through purring. You will see a cat comfortably curled on the sofa purring. The big question is: what is the source of the cat's happiness? Cats have a simple and fascinating lifestyle. When you feed your cat well with the right diet it will be happy. You need to ensure you provide your cat's favorite meal. This includes milk and meat and other recommended cat food.
It is also important to know that cats should be vaccinated and de-wormed regularly. A veterinarian should make regular visits to ensure the cat is in good health because it all contributes to a happy lifestyle. Additionally, keep the cat’s environment clean. This is because cats generally love cleanliness and you will not miss hearing them purring. In fact, you should give them freedom because cats don’t like being caged.
You need to ensure freedom for them to check-in and out anytime they want. Also ensure when you are in the house to pet your cat because they love that closeness with their owners. You can also provide cat toys to ensure they have entertainments which make them happy. Don’t let your cat feel lonely. It is advisable to adopt another cat for a company because cats enjoy their company especially when they are playing.
During the weekend when you are on your outdoor activities take your cat with you. Cats love exploration and this will be their chance to hunt. By doing the things that I have listed here you are building the capacity of your cat’s happiness. Don't subject your cat to a harsh environment and harassment because they are also social beings who desire to be loved. If you are a good per owner you will see your cat coming to receive your when you enter the house. Therefore treat them well and make them happy.
They use it for communication
Cats are very proactive. They are in constant communication especially when they want something. If you closely examine their eye contact and purr you will realize what they want. Cats develop an attachment with their owners because they know they will meet their needs. That is why they use their vocals to communicate. Cats also communicate with each other. This is why you will sometimes see them cuddling together. They are probably conveying some information.
When it comes to communication, various aspects can help you to know more about what the cat wants. Sometimes it is trying to draw your attention so that you can fully get to know what it requires. Therefore, eye contact can also be a great way to read between the lines. The tail posture among others is a key indicator of knowing your cat’s needs. Nowadays, there are training sessions that are being offered to help pet owners get to understand their pets better. If you love your cat I suggest that you can attend such forums so that you can communicate with your pet.
It is only by doing this that you can understand the various purring frequencies and what they mean. This field still requires more research to be done so that people can live peacefully with their pets. Owning a pet doesn’t only involve keeping them in the house but there is more to that. You should be able to communicate with it so that you can meet all its needs.
Additionally, purring is a communication tool to show contentment, when the cat is sitting on your lap, nuzzling with a favorite feline friend or lying in the sun it will be purring to show some contentment in the pleasure that it is receiving. The most common example to illustrate such a situation, is when you pet your cat on the forehead. It will start purring because there is some element of contentment and pleasure that it is receiving. As a pet owner, you need to equally understand such animated behavior such as weaving in and out of human legs to help you provide the best care to your feline friend
Cats Purr when they are hungry
As I said earlier, cats can be very complicated to understand and that is why you should not make assumptions that purring could mean your cat is happy. I had earlier highlighted that feeding it well can be a source of happiness but here is a different scenario. If you are committed to your work and you are on a tight schedule, the chances are that you might fail to refill your cat food.
Therefore, it will purr to show that it is hungry and it needs food. It is for this reason that you need to understand purring can mean several things. If you want to understand that your cat is purring because of hunger, you will see it blending purring with some bit of sharp meows. During such a time it will be moving around you trying to seek your attention. Once you provide the food it will stop purring and you will know that your cat was feeling hungry. Research has shown that cats purr when it is mealtime but when they are hungry the purr is not the same. That is why as a pet owner you should be able to tell the difference and know the feeding schedule of your cat.
Cats are known to conceive many kittens which can sum up to ten or more. Just like any mother, it will want to ensure its kittens are well taken care of and that is why when visit a mother cat with kittens you will hear continuous purring from these kittens. Some researchers say that they are conveying messages to their mother that they are okay or they are feeling hungry and the cat will purr in response which shows there is a network of communication taking place.
Purring also bonds the kittens to their mother. Kittens start purring straight when they are a few days. So the veterinarians concluded that purring strengthens their relationship. The mother cat will also lure the kittens to sleep with purring. As kittens grow old into adulthood they will continue purring because their instinct suggests it will keep them noticed and attended to.
Relief and healing
Most cats purr when something is not okay. They might be feeling sick or lonely. Therefore, purring induces a soothing effect to ease them from the stress that they are undergoing. It helps them to cheer up despite their condition. It gives them the strength to find comfort in their situation. By doing this they will get better faster and if you notice that your cat is not feeling happy try to chip in and help when necessary.
Research also suggests that low-frequency purring causes a series of transmission of vibration within their bodies. These vibrations can heal bones and wounds. This Ideology has also been used by the astronomers to help them maintain the density of their bones when they are in the space. Purring also induces vibrations to help in building muscles and to repair worn out tendons which help the cat to get better and even start hunting. Purring also brings about the inflammatory response which lessens the swelling and pain if your cat is injured. Also since it is a rhythmic continuous process that is facilitated by diaphragm movements it helps in easing the breathing patterns.
Therefore purring greatly helps in the healing process and this partly explains why a cat can fall from high places but it will develop fewer complications compared to their canine friends.
Why does my cat purr so loud?
When talking about the cat with the loudest purr in the world, pet behaviour expert, Professor Peter Neville, said:
“No-one’s really sure why cats purr, we do know that they all purr at the same frequency, and cats tend to do this when they’re very relaxed and when they’re happy, while kittens do it when they’re suckling from their mothers. Interestingly the big cats – lions and tigers and so on, can’t purr. It’s only the little guys, the Felis genus cats who purr.”
So if your cat isn't purring over 70db, I wouldn't worry ;).
It is true that purring has a lot of impact on a cat's life. It is a simple and often overlooked process but after reading this article, I trust you are well informed on why the cats purr.