Have you ever come near a cat and noticed him making a different noise, which sounds just like a little engine running? Have you also noticed that they usually make that noise when they rub against you? Cat purring astounds many people since they aren’t sure if it is a natural display of affection or a breathing problem. On today’s post, you will learn why cats purr, how this sound is produced, what it means and when you should worry.

Why do cats purr?


Purring, just like meowing, is a way for pets to express themselves. This form of expression is even more common among domestic cats. While lions roar, their little cousins – cats – meow and purr. They make that sound when they want to display calmness, satisfaction or show that they are enjoying being petted. It could also mean that they wish to be petted by their owners or visitors, hence, showing a friendly and calm behavior. Finally, purring is also a way they have to catch your attention. In this case, kittens benefit from the human “maternal instinct”. It works similarly to a baby crying: when we hear it, our first instinct is to protect and take care of the vulnerable one who is trying to communicate. So, yes, it is common for cats to purr when they wish to be petted. What is really interesting is that this “little engine” noise is also beneficial to human beings. According to several studies, this sound reduces stress, lowers the blood pressure, and can reduce a person’s likelihood of heart attacks in up to 40%.

 

When should you worry about your kitten’s purring?


Although purring is seen as a positive type of communication most of the times, it could also be a sign that things are not going so well, since one of its functions is to calm the animal. Purring is one of the first sounds a kitten hears in his life, coming from his mother. Due to that, he associates this sound with something positive, and resorts to it as a kind of “feline meditation”. There are medical records of cats that began to purr loudly when they were frightened or in pain. For instance, it is very common to hear that sound from animals that have been hit by a car, as a means of communicating their pain and asking for help. Hence, if you notice that your pet is purring too much, for a long time and he doesn’t seem to want to be petted, you should take him to a veterinarian to check if there is something wrong with him or if he is in pain.


How do cats make this sound?


The “little engine’s system” works in the following manner: the pussy’s brain sends neurological signals to the larynx muscle, causing it to vibrate. This way, when the air comes through the nasal passages, the purring sound is produced. It is through this same mechanism that bigger felines (lion, tiger, jaguars, etc.) roar. The only difference is that the later have stiffer muscles and use this type of communication for territorial marking, so as to establish their dominance in an area.


Really interesting, isn’t it? Why don’t you share this interesting fact with your friends on your social networks?