Why Do Cats Purr? The Answers May Surprise You

Why do cats purr

The most common misconception had by the world is that cats purr because they are so happy to be with you. They are happy to be pet, so they purr. They are happy to have you home, so they purr. They are happy to be cute, so they purr. Essentially, we all just assume that our cats purr because they are so happy they can hardly contain themselves. Sure, cats purr because they are happy; but that is not the only reason that they purr. It turns out that the act of purring is much more complex and in-depth than we humans tend to make it, and that’s our own fault.

At the end of a particularly stressful day, it turns out that curling up with the cat while it purrs with contentment is all it takes to brighten your mood, right? There is something so soothing about the sound, about the vibration and about the knowledge that your cat is purring simply because he is in your presence and happy to be there. However, it turns out that your cat is not just purring because he is happy to be with you. In fact, we don’t know why he’s purring.

Is it Communication?

There are some experts that believe that purring might be a form of communication. Because it is a sound that is so low and so quiet, however, there are others that think this is not necessarily the case since the sound is not loud enough to travel far. That would mean that using purring as a form of communication would mean your cat is attempting to communicate with an animal very close. This might not sound like an issue to pet owners with more than one cat, a dog or some other animal, but it might seem a little more concerning to those who have a purring cat and no other animals in the house? Who is the cat trying to communicate with?

Positive Social Situations

Many people believe that cats purr when they are in the midst of a positive social situation. For example, your cat might purr when he is in the middle of being groomed, when he is being pet, when he is with someone he loves or when he is eating. It seems that cats do tend to purr when they are in a great mood, and it seems to always be a way of telling us that they’re enjoying the moment. This is the most popular and most widely-accepted theory as far as cats and their purring is concerned, but it’s not all that purring is about.


It is also thought that cats might take a moment to use purring as a method of self-soothing, and perhaps they do this when they are stressed. It makes a lot of sense, too, since cats are often in situations that render them uncomfortable. For example, we once noticed our cat sitting atop the cabinets in the kitchen as we had a gathering, purring away. We knew he was not in a good mood since he was kind of an anti-social cat, so we assumed he must have been stressed. There were kids running around all over the house, people being loud and too much going on for his taste. He purred throughout the part, though, and that’s when we realized that perhaps the sound and vibration was just as soothing for him as it is for us when he climbs up on our laps at night and purrs.

And Finally…You Might Not Even Believe It

Since we are talking about purring and cats, we have to mention something that scientists believe might be true. Some studies and some medical exams have begun to show that there is something in a cat’s purring that helps bones regenerate. Yes, that’s what we just said. Yes, we just said that cat’s purring might actually help their bones heal and regrow. Yes, we heart ourselves.

When a cat purrs at a frequency of 26 Hertz, that is enough power to actually promote tissue regeneration, which is something that heals the body. The pressure of the purring in the cat’s body enables the bones to become stronger to deal with the pressure. To make this make a little more sense to you, it’s a lot like exercise. When we use things like physical therapy and exercise to make our bones stronger and to heal from an injury, we are using our bodies to help heal our bones. It’s a simple concept that actually works quite well when you think about it.

Our bones are given a chance to get stronger, so we are able to heal. The same goes for cats, but in a much different – yet very similar – manner.

Why is Your Cat Purring?

If you really want to know what’s up with your cat, look at what’s happened that day. Has your cat had a good day? Is he or she injured? Whatever happened in your cat’s life that day might be the reason behind his or her purring. If it is that important for you to understand what has your cat in a purring mood, go ahead and take a few moments to sit back, relax and see what’s up with your cat.

If your cat is happy to see you, the purring might follow some serious cuddling. If your cat is following you around the kitchen, purring and rubbing against you in the middle of cooking dinner, chances are not that he’s happy to see you so much as he is willing you to hurry up with what it is you are doing and feed him dinner. It could be so many things, so you just never know. Either way, the sound is very soothing to humans, so try to figure out if it’s coming from a negative place and then fix it. If it’s not coming from a negative place, go ahead and enjoy the sound and allow it to calm you down and make you feel that much more alive.

Photo by Getty Images

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