Ever Wonder Why Your Cat Purrs

Why Your Cat Purrs

Now I know you have asked yourself more than once why your cat purrs, right.

Well, I’m afraid I can’t personally answer this question but I found someone who can.

Residing in California I am very proud of the University of California School of Veterinary Medicine. I have personally known people with pets that couldn’t be cured. After visiting UC Davis their pet was either cured or helped in some way.

Leslie A. Lyons, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, explains.

Over the course of evolution, purring has probably offered some selective advantage to cats. Most felid species produce a “purr-like” vocalization. In domestic cats, purring is most noticeable when an animal is nursing her kittens or when humans provide social contact via petting, stroking or feeding.

Although we assume that a cat’s purr is an expression of pleasure or is a means of communication with its young, perhaps the reasons for purring can be deciphered from the more stressful moments in a cat’s life. Cats often purr while under duress, such as during a visit to the veterinarian or when recovering from injury. Thus, not all purring cats appear to be content or pleased with their current circumstances. This riddle has lead researchers to investigate how cats purr, which is also still under debate.

The Technical Answer

Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing.

This association between the frequencies of cats’ purrs and improved healing of bones and muscles may provide help for some humans. Bone density loss and muscle atrophy is a serious concern for astronauts during extended periods at zero gravity. Their musculo-skeletal systems do not experience the normal stresses of physical activity, including routine standing or sitting, which requires strength for posture control.

Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy. The durability of the cat has facilitated the notion that cats have “nine lives” and a common veterinary legend holds that cats are able to reassemble their bones when placed in the same room with all their parts. Purring may provide a basis for this feline mythology.

The domestication and breeding of fancy cats occurred relatively recently compared to other pets and domesticated species, thus cats do not display as many muscle and bone abnormalities as their more strongly selected carnivore relative, the domestic dog. Perhaps cats’ purring helps alleviate the dysplasia or osteoporotic conditions that are more common in their canid cousins. Although it is tempting to state that cats purr because they are happy, it is more plausible that cat purring is a means of communication and a potential source of self-healing.

Now I’m not so sure I can agree with his “purring when under stress” statement. I think you will agree that what a cat does under stress is trying to get away from the stress situation in any way possible and that doesn’t include purring.

Just a reminder for all cat owners, you don’t want to take your cat anywhere without a cat carrier. While we have a tendency to call them “dog carriers” and “dog crates” they work just as well for cats as dogs. We just don’t need to use them as often. Consider a cat carrier for your special furry friend and stop using those cardboard carriers.

About The Author

Bill Beavers, brings you pet products that provide improved Quality of Life for You, Your Family and Your Pets.

You can connect with Bill on Twitter or Facebook and follow his latest projects. For Fun, Facts and Love for our pets follow this blog for informational and entertaining posts and cool tips.

6 Responses to “Ever Wonder Why Your Cat Purrs”

  1. Carol Hansen says:

    That was an interesting post. I’ve had lots of cats and wondered about that. Just never knew why they purred. Cool.

    .-= Carol Hansen´s last blog ..IRIS Puppy or Dog Airline Travel Carrier Cage, 65 Pounds, Blue =-.

  2. I agree, I cannot imagine my cat purring when she is stressed! It seems to be to be completely associated with content.

  3. My husband read something one time that scientists say purring is involuntary, to which we both said ‘pshaw’! How could they know that? I couldn’t believe that cats would purr when scientists are experimenting on them. I think there is so much about animals that people will never understand. In the meantime, I just revel in my cats’ purr.

    Wishing you a song in your heart,

  4. This is a very interesting topic. The most intersecting thing is that all scientific explanation of purring are weak at the best. The truth is that this behavior is a mystery, it has no apparent reason, but evolution has not dropped it. Cats are one of the most mysterious animal on the planet and they have choose us as companions. That’s a thing that makes me think.

  5. Great post! I enjoy reading this informative article. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. Good day! I just wish to give you a huge thumbs up for your great info you
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