Cats don't always purr out of satisfaction: 8 reasons for the mysterious behavior of your pet

By Jurassic JennMar 30, 2024 21:39 PMAnimals
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Cats don't always purr out of satisfaction
Cats don't always purr out of satisfaction. Source: www.fveap.org

SSPDaily found out what is really behind the cat's purr and how to decipher this peculiar feline communication.

Purring is a universal trait among cats, though with varying intensity. It serves as a kind of calling card, a source of comfort and pleasure - often prompting us to instinctively stroke their tails, coaxing them to purr in joyful euphoria.

However, as it turns out, not all purrs signal pleasure.

The physiology of cat purring

Researchers have long been trying to solve the mystery of why cats purr and find out the exact origin of this vibrating sound. The most common theory suggests that the internal muscles of the larynx create this magical resonance. These muscles expand and contract, alternately widening and narrowing the glottis, which encompasses the vocal cords.

Consequently, each inhalation and exhalation pushes out vibrating air waves that manifest as purring. Nevertheless, scientists do not know the exact catalyst that gives rise to this phenomenon.

Purr decoding: possible causes

Researchers have identified various explanations for the occurrence of purring in cats. Take a look into the feline psyche to unravel its secrets:

Expression of pleasure

The melodious purr we hear when we pet our feline friends has no mystery. It is an unmistakable sign of their complete satisfaction. They luxuriate in gentle petting, eliciting a distinct purr as an expression of appreciation - a rhythmic and triumphant "thank you" that resonates like a tractor engine.

Stress relief

Cats may purr when faced with stressful situations, such as moving or being in an unfamiliar environment. Purring has even been observed as a coping mechanism after arguments or during childbirth. Scientists suggest that purring triggers the production of hormones that fight anxiety.

In addition, studies show that purring can reduce the risk of heart attacks by one-third, while regulating heart rate and blood pressure - an unexpected harmonizing effect for both cats and humans.

Verbal communication

Sometimes purring serves as a means of communication - so to speak, in cat language. It can accompany praise or serve as a means of greeting. Sometimes purring can mean dissatisfaction, which is characterized by intermittent and irregular purring. To understand the cat's intentions, it is very important to be attentive to its behavior.

Attracting attention

When it seems that a cat purrs for no reason, it is important to understand that cats are masters of non-verbal communication. From a young age, they purr to attract their mother's attention, and when they reach adulthood, they instinctively purr to interact with their human guardians. This expressive purring is usually louder and resembles the crying of a baby, serving as a subtle indicator that something requires our immediate attention - for example, when a pet has been forgotten to feed.

Sleeping healers

Cat purring occurs at a frequency of 25-150 Hz, and it is scientifically recognized that it has therapeutic potential. Such sound waves have a positive effect on tissue regeneration, accelerating the healing of wounds, bone fractures, and reducing swelling.

After accidents, surgeries, or even seeing a sick companion, cats intuitively change the frequency of their purring to facilitate the recovery process. Interestingly, this may be the reason for nighttime purring - we unwittingly lull ourselves to sleep while the feline engines steadfastly support our own musculoskeletal system.

Cats have even been known to give people their healing powers, relieving aches and pains and minimizing headaches within minutes of therapeutic sound treatment.

A flirty invitation

There are strange cases when our cats purr and bite sharply, seemingly without any provocation. Experts attribute this behavior to an unfulfilled sexual instinct, which is mostly observed in cats that are indoors or undergoing sterilization. A cat in love may start purring to attract the attention of a potential mate, a unique form of feline flirting. This purring serenade is often accompanied by growling and meowing.

A signal for help

If your cat purrs continuously or suddenly stops purring, be careful as this could be a potentially serious sign of illness. Diseases such as coronavirus infection and the subsequent development of infectious peritonitis can be manifested by incessant purring accompanied by bloating - fluid that accumulates in the lungs and intestines. Emergency medical care is essential to save their lives.

Silence

There are times when your feline companion stops purring. Usually, subtle vibrations emanating from the chest and abdomen are enough for these silent cats. However, if the purring stops abruptly, it should be a cause for concern. The reason for the cessation of purring can be respiratory diseases or stress-induced aversion. It is best to consult your veterinarian.

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