Why Do Cats Purr?

Purring is a vocalization used by many animals, and some researchers believe that it serves to communicate among members of the same species.

Purrs are very common in cats, though some species, such as lions and tigers, do not purr. Although there is debate about whether cats purr because they enjoy it or because they need to communicate, most scientists agree that purring serves a purpose. Cats purr more often during play than during other activities, and they purr more frequently when interacting with humans than with other cats.

Each cat’s purr is different. Some purrs are high-pitched, while others are low. Cats purr to express pleasure, relaxation, and contentment. But cats sometimes purr out of stress, anxiety, fear, or even anger. During interaction with humans, cats purr more often than they did alone. You’ll hear a purring cat when he’s playing or grooming himself. Sometimes a purring cat means he wants to play. He might even purr when he’s happy. Or when he’s hungry.

cat purring

Reasons Why Your Cat Purrs? 

Domestic cats typically purr, but lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopard cats do not. This is because they have different bones in their vocal cords. Cat owners often use the word “purr” to mean a happy sound, but there are many other types of sounds cats make. Scientists are still working out how to explain what cats really purr about.

The act of purring helps release endorphins within the brain. These hormones cause feelings of happiness, social connection, and motivation. Cats purr for several reasons, so be careful about interpreting your cat’s purrs as being happy or sad.

Your Cat Is Relaxed and Happy

Those who are happy and contented might be more likely to purr at higher frequencies. Your cat may purr if he feels content, but there are other ways your cat can tell you how much she loves you. She may also rub up against your legs or even jump into your lap. You might hear a gentle rumble when your cat curls up in the sun. They send out waves of calm by breathing in and out. But they do not purr more when you pick them up or pet them. But if your cat is stressed, she will either hiss at you or run away.

cat wants to play

Your Cat Might Be Hungry

Your cat may be communicating hunger by purring. At just two days old, young kittens learn how to purr to communicate want to communicate, and to encourage her to give them milk. Cats that want food or attention tend to purr at lower frequencies.  If your cat’s purr is particularly loud, it might mean that she’s really hungry.

Your Cat Might Be in Pain

Cats often purr when they’re in pain because it helps to reduce the feeling of discomfort. Purring releases endorphins and serotonin, which have an analgesic effect—meaning they help to block pain signals. If your cat is injured or ill, she might purr to help herself feel better. Domesticated cats who are sick or in pain may also purr because they’ve learned that humans respond favorably to their purring.

Purring is often associated with love and affection.

Your Cat Might Be Stressed Out

Not all purrs signal contentment—stress can cause involuntary vibrations too. Cats who are anxious or upset might purr more than usual to try to calm themselves. Some cats even begin purring when they’re frightened—it can be the only sign that the cat feels fear. If your cat is stressed, she’s more likely to hiss at you than to purr.

They Want To Communicate

Purring is often associated with love and affection. But the purring frequency varies depending on what kind of cat you’re talking about. Mother cats use purring to calm kittens. She sings a song to them, using purrs as notes. Mothers might purr with their newborns to communicate their presence, and kittens learn how to purr in order to communicate their needs to their mothers.

If Your Cat Is Other Animals

Cats sometimes purr when they meet or cuddle with other cats. Here, the purring seems like a way of greeting their fellow housemates. But if your cat is with dogs, he might not be so happy about it. Many dogs do not like the sound of purring—it sounds too much like a growling or hissing noise to them.

Purring causes vibrations within the body that help cats heal more quickly

Purring Helps Their Healing

Purring causes vibrations within the body that help cats heal more quickly. Cats also have fewer complications following surgery than dogs. Purring increases blood flow to the body and decreases heart rate. It also helps promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. Cats heal bones and wounds, build muscles, repair tendons, ease breathing, and reduce pain and swelling. These reasons could help explain why cats tend to have fewer complications than dogs after surgery.

So there you have it! Your cat probably purrs for many reasons, some of which you might not even be aware of. By understanding why your cat purrs, you can better interpret the different noises she makes and figure out what she’s trying to tell you.

You should never assume that your cat is happy just because he’s purring. Cats purr when they are happy, but sometimes they purr when they are scared. That’s why you should pay attention to your cat’s behavior when visiting the vet. He may be trying to tell you something about his health.