Why Do Cats Purr?

Why Do Cats Purr?

One of the most frequent vocalizations a cat can make is the purr.  Do you understand why cats purr?  Or the way a cat purrs?  Do you know that not all cats have the ability to purr?  Check out these fascinating facts!

1. When it comes to how a cat purrs, scientists aren't entirely in agreement.  Most people believe that the laryngeal muscles vibrate at a rate of 25 to 150 vibrations per second thanks to a signal that is transmitted from the brain.  When the cat inhales and exhales, the vocal cords separate as a result, and we can hear the purring sound.

2. Because of the low pitch of the purr, we tend to feel the purr as much or sometimes more than we hear it.

3. In addition to cats, other animals such as hyenas, mongooses, guinea pigs, raccoons, genets, and civets can also purr.

4. Some big cats can only roar, not purr. Tigers and lions, who roar, do not purr. Bobcats and mountain lions are examples of animals that purr rather than roar.

5. Cats purr when they are joyful and when they are scared or threatened. When the cat gets disturbed, it acts almost like a nervous habit (much like when people smile nervously).

6. The purr offers therapeutic properties. A cat's purring is said to be a self-soothing and healing mechanism. The 25 Hz frequency is used to promote wound healing in humans. For a complete list of purring's health advantages, see the infographic!

7. When they hear water running, cats typically cease purring. In order to hear the cat's lungs and heartbeat, many veterinarians would turn on a faucet to distract their cat patients from purring.

How about you? What have you noticed about your cat’s purr?  Do you feel more relaxed when you cat is purring?