The Mystery Behind Cat Purring

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Cat Content and Purring

Cat Content and Purring

Purring is the most beautiful and captivating sound that cats can make out of their large repertoire of cat noises. Purring is a sound that you might expert to hear when your cat is happy and content like when he is curled up near the sunny window. The purr is most similar to the human smile. It is the most common sound that cats make but less is known about it than other sounds such as chattering and hissing.

Some cats can purr like a truck engine while other cats purr very softly. Each cat will have a different way that they express their purring. Cats do purr when they are satisfied and happy but also purr when they want to display other emotions. Cats can also purr when they are frightened or nervous.

Although you might not know the exact reason behind a purr it is important that you know there is multiple reasons a cat can purr. The best way to determine what the purring means will depend on the situation and body language.

How Cats Purr

Purring has been a mystery for many years with many different theories on how purring starts. The least popular theory suggests that it is created by blood flow in the chest while the most popular theory suggests that it is produced by the diaphragmatic muscles and laryngeal muscles working in unison. The muscles work with a brainwave or neural oscillator which sends a message to the laryngeal muscles which tells them to vibrate.

Identifying Happiness or Nervousness

Purring can communicate a wide range of emotional states and feelings. Just because a cat is purring does not mean that they are content even though that is the most common reason for purring.

Analyzing the body language will tell you all you need to know about their current emotional state. If your cat is happy then you can expect closed or half-closed eyes, a slow moving or still tail, and erect or relaxed ears.

Nervousness can be indicated by sideways ears, dilated pupils, tail tucked, and attempting to hide. A frightened or startled cat can be identified flat ears again the head, whiskers back, fur standing up and an with erect or tucked tail. Hissing may be seen with nervousness or being frightened.

An angry cat will likely have backward laying ears, constricted pupils, fur standing on end, and an upwards pointing or downwards pointing tail. Hissing and growling may be seen.

Purring Can Heal and Give Relief

One other popular reason that cats purr is to soothe themselves. This is usually seen when a cat is sick or injured. It is suggested that the vibrations produced by the body can help with wound and bone healing, pain, and breathing. Purrs are known to vibrate up to 150Hz in frequency will assists in the bone healing process.

Mother cats will purr during labor to help sooth herself and aid with pain control. There is endorphins released from purring that has been proven to help with pain or illness.

Purring has proven beneficial to humans just like it has been proven to help cats. People from nursing homes have shown significantly lower blood pressure and less stress after they had an opportunity to pet cats. The stroking paired along with purring is really comforting.

The Mother and Kitten Connection

Kittens start purring at just a few days old which is designed to let mother know they are okay and as a bonding tool. Purring will keep the kittens warm when mother cat is away from the kittens as an added benefit.

A mother’s purr is vital to helping a kitten survive because kittens are born blind and deaf but still feel vibrations. The purr will help lead the kittens to her body for nursing when they need to eat. The purring will also help keep the kittens warm since they cannot regulate their body temperature yet.

When kittens reach their intended teat then they will start making biscuits or the milk tread which it is commonly referred to. They will use their paws to stimulate the milk flow. The combination of making biscuits and purring will carry over to their adult life which will aid them throughout their entire life.


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