Why do cats purr?

The purring of cats is something known throughout the world, however, it is unknown the physical mechanism that causes this peculiar sound. If your cat purrs a lot, wags his tail or purrs very hard, here you can find part of its meaning.

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It is not just domestic cats that purr, many wild cats like tigers, panthers, lions, leopards, jaguars and cheetahs also purr. The vast majority of wild felines of small size also emit this characteristic sound while they massage with the paws, for example.

Keep reading this article from a How we explain to you why cats purr and know all about this characteristic cat sound.

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Theories about purr

In the beginning we have said that the purr of feline is a sound whose origin is unknown and the mechanism of emission.

There are two scientific theories about this: Electromyographic studies defend the hypothesis that it is the larynx muscles of the cat that tremble a lot and cause a dilation of the glottis and its immediate regression, whose rapid activity causes vibrations when inhaling and exhaling the air when breathing . All this physical mechanics causes the purring.

The other theory says that the sound is of hemodynamic origin. This hypothesis states that purr has origin in the posterior vena cava . More specifically at the height of the diaphragm, since the muscles compress the blood flow, causing vibrations that are transmitted through the bronchi.

The maternal purr

During and after childbirth the cat communicates with its pups through the purr. Cats also have the innate ability to purr at the end of a week of life, using it to communicate with their mother .

The purr serves the cat to calm their chicks during the traumatic birth. Then show your position to your litter, since for a few days the kittens remain blind. With the purring and the smell, the mother guides her babies to suckle. During lactation the mother calms her puppies to avoid biting their nipples when suckling.

When the pups learn to purr, they communicate their mood to their mother. They are happy when they breastfeed, or they can also mean they are okay or afraid. The purr is not monotonous, it has several frequencies that the cat uses depending on each situation.

The purr of pleasure

All the people who have the company of cats at home, surely have already had a good feeling when they feel the purr of the cat in his lap , or while caressing.

The purr of domestic cats is a kind of tinnitus that produces between 25 and 150 vibrations per second. Among this wide range of tones the cat can accurately express your desires and mood. Contrary to popular belief, purring may not only mean that the cat is liking that moment.

Various meanings of purring

The most common and well-known is the purr that the cat expresses in situations he considers good for him. While eating the cat purrs, it also does so by being petted, but this is a more complex purr, since it does not just mean that the cat is liking it, but it is also a way of showing appreciation and confidence in feeling loved .

However, the cat can also purr when it is sick and asks for our help. Cats purr to avoid situations of tension , for example: after we scold you, or even to avoid quarrels with other cats emitting a friendly purr on these occasions.

Types of ronronar

We have already seen that through purring the cat can show various moods . Next, we will relate the different tones, frequencies and their meanings to better understand your pet:

  • If your cat purrs irregularly it is a sign that he is liking it.
  • If the cat purrs with a vigorous and regular tone it is because it wants something. It could be food, water or a caress of yours.
  • If the cat purrs very loudly, it usually means that the animal is ill and is asking for our help to relieve his pain or discomfort.
  • When the cat purrs in a slow and even way it means that the cat wants to end up with an uncomfortable situation. For example: when we look at him fixedly in the eyes, what for the felines is an unfriendly signal. In this case the cat purrs the way we explain to communicate that he poses no danger and desires our friendship. When this happens, our response should be a very slow blink of eyes and a caress that will put an end to the tension between them.
  • We must take into account the usual tone of our cat. Since just as people have different tones of voice, each of them has its own tone, more serious or acute, more accelerated or slow.

If you are curious about feline behavior, also read why some cats suck on the blanket .

If you want to read the similar articles in Why do cats purr? , we recommend you to enter our Curiosities section of the animal world .

    Emily Harris

    Hi Guys, Girls, and Cats:-pI am Emily Harris, and you can see in above pic. She loves me I swear. I saved her from a dumpster a few weeks back.

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