this happy tabby is wondering why do cats purr

Why do cats purr?


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There’s little more satisfying than a cat sitting on your lap, contently purring away like a tractor. But if you’ve ever found yourself wondering why cats purr, you’re not alone. We’ve asked the “why do cats purr?” question too. Especially after finding out cats mostly meow just to talk to humans.

Mind blown. So why do cats purr? Is it another way of talking to us?

Here’s the real reasons. Some might surprise you.

What are the reasons cats purr?

A lot of us cat parents assume that if a cat is purring, it’s because they’re happy. But before you give yourself a pat on the back for being the chosen one, let’s have a closer look.

Is it true that cats purr when they’re happy? Or is it just an old wives’ tale? (Kind of like the theories about why we keep finding our cats sitting on laptops?)

Well, it’s partly true.

So, do cats purr when they’re happy?

Yes, one of the reasons why is because they’re happy. There’s no doubting that if your fluffball is stretched out on your bed looking pleased as punch, the accompanying purr is one of contentment and happiness. And there’s more good news on that front, because it turns out that sleeping with your cat is beneficial for both of you.

But a cat’s purr isn’t just reserved for humans, unlike the meow. Mother cats purr to their kittens when they’re born. Researchers think that the kittens – who are deaf and blind at this point – purr back as a way of bonding with their mother.

content ginger and white cat lying with man while it purrs

Why do cats purr when they seem scared or unsure?

Animal experts believe that cats purr when they’re stressed or in pain too.

The theory is they purr to help calm themselves. Supposedly, the low-frequency vibrations that come with a purring sound can help cats to steady their breathing and reduce tension.

This might be why your nervous cat purrs when a stranger picks him up and you know it isn’t out of contentment. The same goes for purring on vet trips. Unless your vet is particularly nice, anyway!

Are there other reasons why cats purr?

It turns out that yes, there are quite a few different reasons why cats and kittens purr.

Despite purring not being something that cats reserve specifically for humans, it can still be an effective communication tool. Especially when they’re hungry!

Research shows cats have a special “solicitation purr” which they use to inform their humans when they want food. If you’ve ever heard that particularly plaintive and persistent purr at dinner time, you know exactly what the scientists are talking about.

And there’s at least one other good reason why cats purr. Us humans have known for ages that a purring cat has magical healing properties. Why else would you want nothing more than to cuddle them after a really bad day? Well, we were right all along.

Apparently, a cat’s purr actually does have the power to heal. Not just humans, but themselves too. The frequency at which cats purr can help to heal bones and reduce pain. Plus, your cat releases endorphins when they purr.

So yep, when your cat is chilling with you on the couch purring away, you’re both enjoying it. And if they come to lie down with you when you’re sick or injured, make sure you soak up as much of those healing purr vibes as possible.

Read about more quirky cat behaviour here, plus we answer the mystery question: why do cats knead?

Get that purring furry some pet insurance, already!

Your cat’s purr might have healing properties, but there’s no substitute for prompt and professional medical care when something goes wrong.

If you’ve taken out pet insurance, you can make a trip to the vet without worrying about the bill. And then get them back to the business of happy purring ASAP.

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