Cats are extremely comforting creatures. This is especially true when they are purring; the gentle sound and feeling of a purring cat is the perfect cure to a stressful day. It is the most common sound a housecat can make, yet humans know relatively little about its causes and uses. In some cases, the mystery of purring can actually limit our reception of it.
How Does It Work?
Purring has always stumped scientists. We know that cats can purr during both inhalation and exhalation, unlike meowing which only occurs during exhalation. Currently, the most common consensus is that purring begins in the brain. The brain sends a message to the voice box, which begins to vibrate. Animal behaviorists liken this to opera singing. When your cat purrs, place a finger on their throat. You will be able to feel the vibrations.
Is It Limited to Housecats?
Many people believe that purring is solely a way for domestic cats to communicate with their human counterparts. However, this is not true. Cats in the wild, including bobcats and mountain lions, purr to communicate with other animals. Even animals like raccoons, hyenas, and guinea pigs can purr. Alternatively, roaring cats like lions and tigers cannot purr. This is because their voice boxes (meant for making loud, booming noises to communicate) are much too loose to vibrate.
Why Do Cats Purr?
Most pet owners assume that their cats only purr when they are happy. In many cases, this is true; the most common reason for purring is to express contentment. Content cats will appear relaxed. Their eyes may be half-closed, and their tail will sit relatively still.
Sometimes, cats purr to express other emotions or even needs. A hungry cat may purr to get your attention. Usually, this urgent purr accompanies mews, also referred to as feline crying. This taps into early kitten behavior. When they wish to nurse, kittens cry to get their mother’s attention among a full litter.
Purring can bring comfort to both cat and owner. Like a toddler sucking its thumb, some cats purr to provide relief in stressful situations. In fact, studies suggest that the low vibrations of a cat’s purr can actually help them heal faster. These vibrations trigger processes that lessen pain, ease breathing, heal bones and wounds, and build muscle.
At Claws N Paws Day Spa, your cat’s health and happiness is always important. Our grooming salon provides professional services to both cats and dogs. Right next door, you can find cats-only boarding in our specialized facility. Missing the comforting purr of a cat in your home? We have several kittens and cats readily available for adoption at the moment. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 714-962-1005.