An Orange Cat Licking Its Paws And Purring

Why Do Cats Purr?

Most of us have heard the endearing and rhythmic sound of a cat purring. But did you ever stop to wonder, “Why do cats purr?” Purring is one of the most distinctive traits of our feline friends, yet the reason behind purring often remains a mystery to cat owners.

Read on for a detailed view of a cat’s purr. From a sign of contentment to a tool for communication and healing, the reasons behind a cat’s purr are diverse and intriguing.


How Do Cats Purr?

A cat’s classic purring sound comes from a collaboration between the voice box and diaphragm. The voice box produces quick vibrations and when the cat breathes, the air passing over the larynx produces the comforting sound.

A purr is like a finger print in the sense that no two cats have an identical purr. Some are deep and akin to a growl, while others are almost silent.


Kitten Lying On Its Back Purring

Why Do Cats Purr?

It’s a common misconception that cats only purr when they are happy. While yes, it’s true that they purr when they’re happy, they also purr for a variety of other reasons. So what are some other reasons that cat’s purr?


Most of us were taught that cats purr when they’re happy and luckily, that is true.

Cats will purr when they feel safe, warm, and content. That might mean they purr when they’re curled up in your lap, warm in their bed, or curled up next to their best furry friend.

For comparison, a purr to a cat is like a thumb to a baby. A soothing mechanism and often one that is used for comfort.


It is scientifically suggested that a cat’s purr has healing qualities. They use their purring for healing after surgery or other types of injuries. This is true not only for themselves, but humans too! The frequency level of a purr is the same frequency (between 25 and 150 hertz) that has been found to promote healing in various types of animals.

The study could not definitely say whether a cat’s purr can be used as a healing source but the results are promising. And who doesn’t like a kitty purring in their lap anyway? Might as well benefit from the potential healing effects.


Cats also use their purrs to communicate with their humans and other cats. For example, a newborn kitten can purr as early as a few days old. It’s suggested that it’s the way a kitten communicates with its mother, much like a newborn human baby.

If you’re a cat owner, you’ll also notice that your feline friend purrs in different ways. Perhaps their purr is accompanied by a high pitched meow or chirp around dinner time. This is their way of letting you know that they’re hungry.


Your cat’s purr can actually help you to bond with your furry friend. When a cat purrs, they release endorphins which induce the same effect in cats as in humans. When a body releases endorphins it experiences lower hormone levels, lower blood pressure, less stress, and less anxiety.


Nervous Cat Purring At The Vet

When Purring May Be a Cause For Concern

Unfortunately, not all purring is a sign of contentment as we’ve been led to believe. Cats can purr when they are anxious, stressed, angry, or have an underlying disease.

Watch your feline friend. If their pupils are dilated, their tail is twitching, and their eyes are fixed, they are telling you they’re scared or stressed.

There are also instances where a cat may purr if they are sick. It’s best to book an appointment with your veterinarian for some diagnostics but some signs to look for are:

Don’t worry. Any combination of these does not necessarily mean that something is wrong but it’s in your kitty’s best interest to get in to their veterinarian to be sure.


Your Cat’s Purr Is A Way of Communicating With You

…so make sure you’re listening! Whether you’ve just begun on your cat journey with a tiny new kitten, or are a seasoned cat lady, it’s your job to listen to your cat’s cues so you can better serve their health (and yours).

As you get to know your cat better, observe the different situations in which they purr and consider what they might be communicating or how they’re feeling.

The world of purring opens an entirely new world of the complex emotions of cats and we are just lucky to have figured out some of their cues.