Why is my cat purring?

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The purr of cats is something known to everyone, however, the physical mechanism that causes this peculiar sound is still unknown. If your cat purrs a lot, wags its tail or purrs very loudly, here you will decipher part of its meaning.

Not only domestic cats purr, many wild cats as tigers, panthers, lions, leopards, jaguars and cheetahs purr. Also the vast majority of smaller wild cats emit this characteristic sound while kneading, for example.

If you continue reading AnimalWised you will be able to find out the reasons why you have ever wondered: ¿Why does my cat purr? Continue reading and you will learn about all aspects of your cat's purr.

You may also be interested in: Why doesn't my cat purr? Index
  1. Theories about purr
  2. The maternal purr
  3. The purr of pleasure
  4. Various meanings of the purr
  5. Types of purr

Theories about purr

We said before that the feline purr is a sound of which its origin is still unknown true and the emission mechanism.

There are two scientific theories about it: Electromyographic studies support the hypothesis that they are the laryngeal muscles of the cat, which trembling rapidly causes a dilation of the glottis and its immediate regression, whose rapid activity causes vibrations when inhaling and exhaling the air when breathing. All this physical mechanics causes the purr.

The other theory supports that said sound is of hemodynamic origin. This hypothesis asserts that the purr originates from posterior vena cava. Specifically at the level of the diaphragm, since the muscles compress the blood flow, causing vibrations that are transmitted through the bronchi.

The maternal purr

During and after giving birth, the cat communicates with her puppies by purring. Kittens also have the innate ability to purr after one week of life, using it to communicate with your mother.

The purr helps the cat to calm her puppies during the traumatic trance of childbirth. Then it serves to signal their position to their litter, since the kittens remain blind for a few days. Through the purr and its smell the mother guide her puppies so that they suck. During lactation the mother calms her kittens to prevent them from biting her nipples when sucking.

When puppies learn to purr, they communicate their mood to their mother. Pleased when they breastfeed, it can also mean that they are not feeling well, or that they are afraid. The purr is not monotone, it has different frequencies that the cat uses depending on each situation.

The purr of pleasure

All the people who have enjoyed the company of cats in our home, it has caused us a pleasant feeling to feel the purr of the cat in our lap, or while we caress it.

The purr of domestic cats is a kind of hum that produces between 25 and 150 vibrations per second. Among this wide range of shades the cat can precisely express its desires and mood. Contrary to popular belief, purring may not necessarily mean just complacency on the part of the cat..

Various meanings of the purr

The most common and known is the purr of complacency that the cat expresses in pleasant situations. While eating the cat purrs; It also does it when being petted, but this is a more complex purr, since it not only indicates that our cat is pleased, but it is also a show of appreciation and confidence feeling loved.

However, the cat can also purr when it is sick and asks for our help. Cats also purr to avoid stressful situations, such as: after being fought, or even to avoid fights with other cats by emitting a friendly purr on these occasions.

Types of purr

We have seen that by purring the cat can show various moods. Next we will list the different tones, frequencies and their meanings to better understand our beloved pet:

  • If our cat purrs irregularly, it is a sign of maximum complacency.
  • If the cat purrs with a vigorous and regular tone, it is a sign that it wants something. It can be food, water, or a caress from us.
  • If the cat purrs very loudly, it usually means that the animal is unwell and requests our help to alleviate its pain or discomfort.
  • When the cat purrs in a rhythmic and uniform way, it means that the cat wants to end an uncomfortable situation. For example: when we stare into his eyes, which for felines is an unfriendly sign. In this case, the cat purrs in the way described above to communicate that he does not represent any danger and wants our friendship. When this happens, our response will be a very slow blink of our eyes and a caress that will end the tension between us..
  • We must take into account the usual tonality of our cat. Since in the same way that people have different tones of voice, each of them has its own tone, lower or higher, or faster or slower.

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