What Makes a Happy Cat Purr?
Have you ever wondered, "How does a cat purr?" We've all heard a happy cat purr.
How do cats purr, and when? A happy cat does other wonderfully endearing things, too.
A secure, loved, and happy cat will purr at the drop of a hat. Sometimes you can hear it from across the room! Our big Maine Coon cat, Leo, barely needs to hear his name mentioned before he starts the motor!
How Does a Cat Purr?
Cats purr steadily, while breathing in and out. That's how it sounds constant. A cat will relax the muscles around the larynx, or voice box. The air passes between the vibrating muscles and the voice box, creating a purr.
When and Why Does a Cat Purr?
The most obvious answer is that a happy cat purrs when she is content. Kittens purr when they are only two days old. They purr when they are nursing, and the mother cat purrs as well. A mother cat also often purrs while giving birth. When a cat is petted or held, she will soon purr in response.
A much more intriguing cat fact is that cats purr when they are stressed, injured, or near death. This has prompted experts to examine the causes of a cats purring.
Why would an injured or scared cat purr? One of the first theories is that it's a coping mechanism, bringing comfort to a terminally injured cat. It might be an instinctual self-comforting tool.
Another thought is that a cat purrs when scared in order to show that he's not a threat. So, if your cat purrs at the vet's office, he might be trying to say, "Don't hurt me! I'm a good kitty!"
A very interesting fact that experts have uncovered has to do with the frequency of a cats purr. The purr occurs at a frequency of 25-150 Hertz, which also happens to be a frequency that can promote healing!
So, you might hear a happy cat purr simply because he's happy. And you might hear a cat purr when he's scared or injured, because it's calming and healing.
Interesting Facts About Cat Sounds
Purring is just one of the many sounds of cat communication, such as meowing, growling, hissing etc. Studies have found that cat will use special meows and purrs just to get our attention! They only use these special meows and purrs, referred to as "solicitation," with their family.
So, when your cat wants you to get out of bed in the morning, or fill the water bowl, they will solicit your attention with special cat sounds. The solicitation purr is actually a combination of a high-pitched meow with a low-pitched purr. These cat sounds are geared toward getting our attention without irritating us.
Have you ever noticed that the sound of a cat purr resembles an engine? That's because at about 26 cycles per second, that is the same as an idling diesel engine. It's no wonder we refer to them as having a built in motor!
Don't Forget Cat Kneading
Nearly all cats sometimes knead while they purr. It's part of snuggle time, and shows they are feeling really happy. When small kittens nurse, they knead to get their mothers milk flowing, purring all the while.
When your cat purrs and kneads on your lap, they are reliving those times of security and comfort. Many cats are known to drool, and even suck on clothes or a blanket as well!
So, the next time your friend joins you for a nice snuggle, or solicits you for some attention, listen to his cat purr and marvel at his unique abilities. It's a great way to bond with and understand our feline friends.