Why do cats purr? This question is something most cat owners want to know. Is it because they are happy with our presence or purring can mean something else? These questions are the ones that we will address in this article.
Why Do Cats Purr?
Other Reasons: Why Do Cats Purr?
Here are the other formulated guesses as to why does a cat purr?
The first reason is that the cat is simply happy. To distinguish that happiness why a cat is purring, it may also manifest other signs such as looking relaxed, lying on the back with eyes half-closed and tail mostly still.
2. Mother-Baby Connection
Kittens can purr after a few days from the day they are born. It has been theorized that kittens purr to let their mothers know their whereabouts or that they are okay so that their mums will not worry anymore.
3. Feelings Of Hunger Or Thirst
Mealtime is almost everyone’s favorite part of the day, and that involves cats too. According to a study conducted by the British researchers, purring sounds were often made by some house cats when they were hunger.
When cats want to eat, they let out their normal purr with a meow or an unpleasant cry which is an imitation of a human baby crying for food. The researchers and experts believed that people would normally respond to this kind of purring and most people, non-cat owners included, can easily distinguish this kind of sound from the rest.
4. Healing And Relief
Surprisingly enough, cats do not only purr when they are happy but also make the sound when they are hurt or in pain. Purring, in times of painful or hurtful situations, may be the cat’s way to soothe himself. Some research has suggested that when a cat purrs in pain, it makes himself feel better at a faster rate.
The low frequency of purring causes vibrations within the cat’s body which further heal bones & wounds, lessen pain & swelling, build muscles, repair tendons, and ease the breathing. This explanation may also be the reason how cats survive falls from very high places and have fewer complications from surgeries when compared to dogs.
5. Frightened Or Threatened
Some people also believed that cats purr when they are frightened or threatened about something which they perceive as dangerous to themselves, their offspring, and the person or family they serve.
6. Way Of Communication
Researchers from the University of Sussex said that domestic cats can elicit a plaintive cry hidden through their purrs which can irritate their human masters yet appeals to their nurturing instincts.
How Do Cats Purr?
The cat’s brain is the starting point of his purring. When a cat purrs, a repetitive neural oscillator will send a message to the laryngeal muscles which will make them twitch at 25 to 150 vibrations per second. This will then cause the vocal chords to move apart during the cat’s inhalation and exhalation, and in turn, a purr will be produced.
The same researchers from the University of Sussex studied and examined the sound spectrum of purr. They saw that there is an unusual peak in 220- to 520-hertz frequency range entrenched in the lower frequencies of the normal purr. Human babies’ cry also has a bit similar frequency range at 300 to 600hertz.
Meanwhile, for healing purposes, cats purr only at 24-140 vibrations per minute. Bioacoustics Researcher Elizabeth von Muggenthaler said that this number of vibrations is good for bone growth, wound healing and pain relief. She also recorded some cat purrs from different felines including domestic cats, cheetahs, pumas, ocelots and saw that these animals’ purrs fit in the range for bone regeneration.
Why Is It That My Cats Don’t Purr?
Not all cat breeds can purr. Cats that roar can’t purr, while cats that can purr can’t roar. For cats that roar, they could not purr since the structures surrounding the cat’s larynxes are not enough to elicit purring.
Cats that roar, move a lot, to catch their prey, and they do roaring to protect their territories and themselves. Whereas cats who purr, are usually loners and smaller which do not require them to compete with their fellow felines for prey. They only mark their territories using scent.
Is Purring Beneficial For Humans Too?
YES! Believe it or not, purring is not only good for cats but for humans who own them too. A study shows that cats are a great stress reliever and good at lowering blood pressure compared to other dogs.
The University of Minnesota Stroke Center conducted a ten-year study and found out that cat owners are 40% less likely to suffer from heart attacks than people who do not own cats. Purring might have a role to play in this.
According to Doctor Rebecca Johnson of the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction, purring is an auditory stimulus, which people attributes to calmness and peacefulness. It provides us with positive reinforcement in whatever we are doing and contributes to the entire relaxation effect when we interact with cats.
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