Chelsea Becker / 2022-03-25 16:13:58 / 0 Comments

The Fascinating Reason Cats Purr

Is your cat purring right now? If you're one of the millions of people who share their homes with feline friends, you've probably asked yourself why they purr. After all, cats aren't known to be social creatures, so why do they make this particular sound when they are content? The answer to that question has more to do with physical anatomy than it does with social behavior! Here's everything you need to know about why cats purr—and why it helps them stay healthy and happy.

3 things you didn't know about cat purring

First, purring is a sign of contentment in cats, and domestic felines purr both when they're happy and when they are stressed. Second, it's also thought that purring can help cats heal themselves—both by encouraging tissue regeneration after injury and by improving bone density over time. Finally, cat purrs come in two different forms: rough and smooth. Rough purrs tend to be louder than smooth ones, with a sound level on average of 25 decibels higher than their smoother counterparts.

Cat purring

And while it's not entirely clear why there are two types of purrs, researchers believe that it may have something to do with mating rituals. Domestic cats will often purr up before mating with another feline, making a much louder noise than normal as part of its courtship ritual. This might serve as an indication to other nearby males that it has found a mate and should not be disturbed.

What is the origin of cat purring?

Cat purring may sound mysterious, but there's actually a scientific explanation for it. Just like humans, cats use vibration to express themselves, and that has a number of physiological benefits. The frequency and pattern of a cat's purring is thought to be similar to that of a human mother cooing or humming to her child—and so can have a relaxing effect on both human and feline ears. In addition, cats often purr when they are feeling contented or in pain; in both cases, their bodies release endorphins that help them feel better. So next time you hear your kitty purr at you with glee, take comfort in knowing she's not just saying hello—she might also be sending you healing vibes!

Cats provide healing vibes

How do cats purr?

In order to purr, cats must have a functional larynx and diaphragm. A cat can't purr if it has an upper respiratory disease or dysfunction of its larynx, so purring is a good indicator that your kitty is in good health. The frequency of a cat's purring can vary, but on average it falls between 25 and 150 Hertz. That may not seem like much, but it's actually more than twice as high as what humans can hear! This is why you may not be able to hear your own cat purring—your ears just aren't sensitive enough.

However, most people can feel their cat purring because vibrations travel through their body when they pet their furry friend. These vibrations are created by contractions of special muscles located near each rib cage. Since cats don't have collarbones, these muscles attach directly to their breastbone (sternum). When these muscles tighten, they push against their sternum which causes it to vibrate, making a purring noise. Purring isn't only for pleasure; there are several theories about why cats purr at all!

When do cats start to purr?

Little kittens start to purr when they are very young. They're just a few days old when they first make that distinctive noise. You might not hear it much at first because it might be low and quiet, but keep your ears open—if you listen closely, you will soon be able to distinguish a soft purring sound from other baby noises. By three weeks of age, if your kitten is healthy and happy, she will likely have figured out how to purr really well. At around four weeks of age, her purrs should become louder and more frequent. If your kitten doesn't start to purr on her own by five or six weeks of age, she may need medical attention.