Why Does My Cat Purr So Much?

Updated on April 25, 2017
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Purrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

I love cats! And I love the sound of them purring. I think as humans we are fascinated with things animals can do that humans cannot. There is nothing greater to me 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, even when he sits on the toilet when I shower. He's just a super happy fellow and wants to let me know it all the time!

Filidae Family

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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 because 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?

You know what's funny? Know 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 that “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. Its like the kitty has a motor "built in". Vibrations can be felt when holding or snuggling with your kitty companion.

When does your cat purr?

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It's great owning a cat

Cat ownership is a priveledge and a joy. The mysterious purring is another great feature your furry friend has. Keep your cat happy and healthy and you'll enjoy the feline purring for many many years.

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    • leni sands profile image

      Leni Sands 4 years ago from UK

      Great hub - however I always thought that cats owned us not the other way round - our cats rule the house - sort of!!

    • Bishop55 profile image
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      Rebecca 4 years ago from USA

      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.

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      Casimiro 4 years ago

      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.

    • Bishop55 profile image
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      Rebecca 4 years ago from USA

      Ron! Thanks. You should adopt a cat! I bet any animal would love to have you as their owner! Thanks for the comment.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 4 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      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 Morgan M-T profile image

      Maren Elizabeth Morgan 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

      Yes - cat ownership is a privilege!

    • Bishop55 profile image
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      Rebecca 4 years ago from USA

      awww! Thanks everyone!

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 4 years ago from Bangkok

      Purrr-fect hub! Voted up! :)

    • cj-entertainment profile image

      cj-entertainment 4 years ago

      This is Nice I love cats

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      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.

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