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Understanding Why Cats Purr

Cats are fascinating creatures, and one of their most endearing traits is their purring. But have you ever wondered why cats purr? It turns out that this soothing sound is a form of communication and has more purposes than you might think.

The Science Behind Why Cats Purr

According to Scientific American, “Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing.”

Expressing Contentment

Purring is often linked to a cat’s sense of joy. As your feline friend basks in the warm sunbeams or nestles comfortably on your lap, the soft vibrations you sense are an expression of their satisfaction. This soothing sound is their method of communicating a state of tranquility and pleasure in the present.

Many cats enjoy being groomed and will do this behavior continuously as they are brushed. Purring can be both beneficial to the cat and to the owner as it is a bonding experience.

A gray cat being brushed with the Aumuca Cat Brush.

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A Call for Attention

Cats also purr when they want something. If you’ve ever noticed your cat purring while gazing up at you, it’s likely they’re asking for food or affection.  Veterinarian, Dr. Divya Anne says, “Cats purr is how the cats express their feelings. Mother cats purr in order to communicate with their kittens. Cats purr during the time of labour to relieve themselves from pain, during stressful situations. Cats purr at the owners if they want something from them. For example, if the cat is being petted and suddenly you stop petting it the cat purrs in order to communicate that it wants to be touched. Cats purring is a way of communicating with cats and other species.”

Stress Relief

Just like humans, cats experience stress and anxiety. Purring can be a self-soothing behavior that helps them cope with stressful situations or environments. They can calm themselves by their purr. Sometimes petting a pet cat, feeling the vibrations and hearing them purr can also calm the owner during stressful situations.


Cats purr for various reasons, ranging from expressing happiness to self-healing. It’s a complex behavior that serves multiple purposes in their lives. So, the next time you hear your furry friend purring away, remember that this simple sound is a window into their emotional and physical well-being.

Read more cat-related stories.

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