sPURR of the moment

Most of us have already heard it, but what are the components of purring?

“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.” (Leslie A. Lyons 2003) 

Karen L. Overall, VMD, PhD says that a cat purring is almost the equivalent to a person singing in the opera. Except that it’s so low pitched that we “feel it as much as we hear it”. She also says that cats (domesticated or not) that purr, can’t roar, and cats that roar,  typically can’t purr. This is because certain types of cats have evolved the roar in order to protect their pride.

Pong purrs ALL THE TIME. He’ll lay down next to you when you’re sleeping and purr. Sit on top of the door (LORD knows how he got up there to begin with), and purr. purr when he’s sitting on your lap, when he’s sitting on the toilet waiting for you to get out of the shower, when he’s playing with toys, or even when he’s just sitting there and no one is even paying any attention to him at all.

WHY?! I love him to pieces, but why does he purr soo much and soo loud??

I decided, as always, to research this. First, we have to understand the origin of the purr. When a kitten is nursing, a kitten can’t meow and nurse to let his/her mother know that they are content. But they learned to purr and nurse at the same time to show their contentment.

So does this always mean a cat is content when they’re purring? No not necessarily.

A cat will also purr when they feel threatened or scared.  Kelly Morgan, DVM, says to equate purring with a person smiling. For example, a person will smile whether they’re happy, nervous, anxious, when they want something, or just because. “So perhaps the purr can also be an appeasing gesture,” Morgan says.

Comparing a purr to a smile makes me understand Pong a lot more. Now I try to picture him smiling when he purrs, and I inspect his surroundings to see if something is bothering him.

Ping, on the other hand, doesn’t purr at all anymore. And if you have a cat that doesn’t purr, it’s not uncommon and it’s not harmful for your cat either. Typically, if one cat in the house is really audible, the other cats won’t be. Hopefully this blog is helping you all understand your cats a little better 😀

Have a purrrfect night 🙂


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