Purr – fect!
Just imagine after a hard – days work you cuddle up on your sofa with your favorite feline friend nestled in next to you. It’s raining outside and you’re sipping down a pumpkin spiced latte whilst stroking the luxuriously soft and enticing fur of your kitty.
Your cat purrs and purrs and it is as relaxing for you to hear as it sounds for him to produce. Have you ever wondered though? Why do cats purr? Why do cats purr when you stroke them, or pet them? Why do some cats purr more than others?
Fear, not feline lovers we are here to put your minds at ease and understand what purring means and what it is about.
What is a purr?
A purr is a funny way to describe the noise your cat makes, but it is the most perfect way to describe it. Cats make an almost zen-like noise which looks super relaxing for them and it is kind of relaxing to hear.
Although this was a mystery for some time, we now know that the purr comes from the cats’ voice box. Purring can occur during inhalation and exhalation; some cats have a loud purr and some produce a quite purring noise.
There isn’t a one purr fits all approach. What you may find surprising is cats don’t actually have any special instruments inside their bodies to make them snore. Unlike humans who may snore when our tonsils become enlarged. Purring is believed to be from breathing.
Purring is the fast movements of the muscles of the larynx, combined with the movement of the diaphragm. It is known that muscles move at around 30 times per second. When your cat breathes air is passed over the vibrating muscles and thus the purr is heard.
Why do cats in labor purr?
Cats purr for many reasons like humans smile in varying social situations it also thought a cats purr can mean different things.
During labor, it is though cats purr as it produces a self-soothing effect.
This is thought to provide pain control and release endorphins to help further pain reduction and management.
When kittens are born the mother cats purr adapts to become a form of communications. Most kittens are born deaf and blind, but they can feel vibrations. The vibrations from the mother cats purr allows the kittens to locate her for nursing and warmth.
Kittens can develop their own purr from around two days old and they use this as a form of communication.
Why do cats purr and knead?
When kittens first reach the teats of their mother they start to do what is known as the milk tread. They use their paws to massage and flex the teats which stimulated the flow of milk. With them being so young they more often than not begin purring.
It is though this combination of purring and stimulation helps produce the milk flow in mother cats. Much like humans, the suckling of a child can encourage milk flow and mothers can tell when their baby is hungry from their cry.
The double actions of kneading and purring are something built into feline DNA and it why likely even though your cat is much older they still continue to purr and knead
Different types of purrs.
As mentioned before a cats purr can represent many different things and social situations. The most regular emotions we relate to a purring cat is content and happiness.
But purring is also related to relief and healing. Purring takes energy and when a cat is hurt or in pain they still purr through the pain. Soothing themselves in labor or when they are recovering from injuries and wounds.
It is thought that purring can help cats heal quicker releasing endorphins to help;
- Heal bones
- Build damaged muscle and repair injured tendons
- Ease rapid breathing
- Reduce pain and swelling from injury
Don’t forget cats are able to fall from high spaces and are also known to have lesser post-operative complications than dogs.
Cats are very clever animals, and once they learn you react to their purr it is likely they will remember and use it to their advantage. For example; letting you know their hungry.
So to sum it up don’t panic yourself wondering why do cats purr. Just pay attention to what they’re doing at the time of the purr.
If they are cuddled up nice and warm getting stroked off of you, then assumed it’s a purr of pleasure. Don’t worry about your cat purring whilst they sleep.
If your cat is in labor assume it is to relax them and reduce the pain.
If your cat is visibly hurt or distressed when purring then it is probably best to visit a vet.