Rebecca loves sharing what she knows about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, fun, animals, and how to live a better life!
I love cats, and I love the sound of them purring! I think as humans we are fascinated by the things animals do that we cannot. There is nothing greater than getting home from a long day's work, picking up a fuzzy fur baby, and being happily greeted with a long, unending purr.
Pets and the companionship they offer are naturally therapeutic. There are different kinds of defined love and having an animal is a very unique love. Any animal lover knows exactly what I'm talking about! Animals bring unconditional love and comfort into our lives.
My current feline companion will purr all the time, nonstop, which makes me very happy and relaxed. You can look at him from 3 ft., and he will get his motor going. He purrs when he eats, snuggles, plays, and even when he sits on the toilet while I shower. He's just a super happy fellow and wants to let me know it all the time!
What Is That Sound?
What makes the purr interesting is that it is different from other cat vocalizations. A purr is produced during the entire respiratory cycle (inhaling and exhaling). Other vocalizations such as the “meow” are limited to the expiration of the breath, much like a human when we speak.
In a cat, the signal to purr travels from the brain to the muscles in the voice box, and this message tells the muscles there it's time to purr, so they start acting as a valve for air flowing past the voice box. The muscles work both during inhalation and exhalation, which creates the sound and seems to run continuously and endlessly. The air passes through the valve, which opens and closes rapidly to create the purring sound all cat lovers love so much!
Purring is a unique feature in the domestic cat. However, other species in the Felidae family also purr: for example the Bobcat, Cheetah, Eurasian Lynx, Puma, and Wild Cat all purr the way a domestic cat would.
Cats are outnumbering dogs as the number one pet in the U.S., one reason is that cats do a great job of lowering stress and blood pressure than many other pets, and purring may help with that.
Purring is also considered a “natural healing mechanism.” Purring may be linked to the strengthening and repairing of bones, relief of pain, and wound healing for your fine feline. Purring is also auditory stimuli that humans attribute to peace and contentment. We generally construe it as something positive. It gives us a whole relaxation effect when we interact with our cats. Pretty cool for a simple stroke of the fur!
Why Do Cats Purr?
Do you know what's funny? No one really knows for sure why cats purr. There are guesses, assumptions, and some documented reasons.
Cute little kitties learn to purr when they are a couple of days old. Vets say that purring tells ‘Mom’ that “I am healthy," "I'm okay," and “I am here.” It also indicates a bonding mechanism between kitten and mother.
As the kitten grows into adulthood, purring continues. Many suggest a cat purrs from contentment, happiness, and pleasure. But a cat also purrs when it is injured, sick, in pain, or even when near death. Apparently purring is also comforting for a cat during times of illness or near death. In the wild, as a cat nears death, it signals to predators that "I am not a threat". Another cool thing about a purr is that not only can humans hear it, but we can feel it. It's like the kitty has a motor "built-in." Vibrations can be felt when holding or snuggling with your kitty companion.
Owning a Cat Is Great!
Cat ownership is a privilege and a joy. The mysterious purring is just one of the many great features of our furry friends. Keep your cat happy and healthy, and you'll enjoy the feline purring for many, many years.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
Rebecca (author) from USA on May 13, 2020:
:( sending you lots of love.
Poopin on May 11, 2020:
To our beloved baby kitty.We love you and miss you soo much.God has you now.We know your playing in heaven with the angels.When we get there we know you will run to meet us.We will again be together.This time forever.Thankyou God for taking care of our kitty till we get there.
Rebecca (author) from USA on August 14, 2018:
Awwww! I feel the same way about my guys!
Sabrina on August 10, 2018:
This was ao helpful. I rescued my cat four months ago when he was only 3 weeks old. He had an upper respiratory infection, was mal nurioushed and emaciated and was in pretty bad shape. I got him on antibiotics and bottle fed him until he was 6 weeks old and built quite the bond with him. He always just purrs, purrs, purrs even when I'm half way across the room. I like to think he's just happy, but hopefully there aren't any lasting emotional issues from how he started off. Even though he purrs all the time he's also very "playful" and will sneak attack you while also purring. Lol My little fur ball is laying on my chest purring away as I write this though. So many feels!
Leni Sands from UK on October 17, 2013:
Great hub - however I always thought that cats owned us not the other way round - our cats rule the house - sort of!!
Rebecca (author) from USA on April 18, 2013:
Your kitty is very fortunate to have you! I had a stray that sounds like yours a bit. It took him about 2 solid years to warm up to me. He was never vocal with purring, but he mewed a lot. I love all cats! Sounds like your cat lost her momma to soon. Maybe that explains some of the behavior. I need to read your hub about relocating. I want to get to USVI.
Casimiro on April 18, 2013:
Our current cat is a stray we picked up off the road when she was 4 weeks old. It's our first cat in Costa Rica and we've noticed behaviors that are different from cats in the U.S. we've had. She doesn't purr a lot, and she's not the most social cat I've had, but she loves long strokes on her body. She will stretch out her full length and if you get a purr, you know she's really happy.
Rebecca (author) from USA on April 13, 2013:
Ron! Thanks. You should adopt a cat! I bet any animal would love to have you as their owner! Thanks for the comment.
Ronald E Franklin from Mechanicsburg, PA on April 12, 2013:
I don't have a cat, have never had a cat, and probably never will have a cat. But I enjoyed reading your hub. It almost - just almost - made me wish I did have a cat.
Maren Elizabeth Morgan from Pennsylvania on March 18, 2013:
Yes - cat ownership is a privilege!
Rebecca (author) from USA on March 18, 2013:
awww! Thanks everyone!
beingwell from Bangkok on March 18, 2013:
Purrr-fect hub! Voted up! :)
cj-entertainment on March 17, 2013:
This is Nice I love cats
Dianna Mendez on March 16, 2013:
Aww, such a sweet hub post. I miss my cat, he always purred when he was being held or petted. Thanks for the information on why they do purr, very interesting.