Why Do Cats Purr?

ginger cat being hugged

As a pet owner, we automatically presume that our cat’s purr is a sign of contentment but while this is one of the reasons, this form of communication if far more complex than we first realise. One of the primary reasons cats purr is because they are born deaf and blind and this soft rumble lets their mum know where they are. In these first couple of weeks, a kitten will let out a purr to draw attention to itself and let its parent know that it is hungry. This is only the beginning when looking into the many reasons cats purr. In this blog post, we will delve into what triggers this response from our beloved cat and the wide range of emotions it conveys.

 

Are cats really happy when they purr?

Cats often purr when we pet or stroke them which leads us to assume that purring is an indication of a positive mood. In most cases, purring does signify happiness and contentment but not in all cases. You may notice that cats also purr when they are afraid or distressed. This is because purring is sometimes a form of self healing and this soft rumble is part of the way a cat recovers from a stressful or traumatic event. Research shows that the act of purring is not only a form of stress relief for a cat but also for a cat owner.

 

What does it mean when a cat is purring?

A cat purring can mean a number of things. The body language used when purring can give us a clue to what the purr means and give it some context. Purring can sometimes indicate that your cat is hungry. It’s common for cats to purr while winding their body around your legs on a morning as you make your way to the kitchen to feed them. A purr combined with a mew is usually a notification that they want to be fed. Often, purring is a form of healing self repair and cats use this to heal from injuries quicker. Kittens purr a few days after being born and it can serve as a way for the mum to keep track of her babies and soothe them.

 

What triggers a cat to purr?

Is a purr a voluntary response or something that is triggered? The sound is created via vibrations in the cat’s throat and the motion itself is an automatic response. Your cat is one hundred percent purposefully trying to communicate with you when you hear this majestic sound.

 

Can cats control their purring?

The coolest thing about purring is that it is not an involuntary act. So, when you hear your cat purring, this is always something that is in their control and you can be sure they are purring on purpose. Figuring out that purpose is more of a complex process.

Your cat’s purring may always be a mystery to you but cat owners often have a sixth sense if their feline friend is under the weather. If this is the case, you will need cat insurance. Check out our policies here.