Why do cats purr when they are stroking?


One of the reasons why a person chooses a cat as his pet is her ability to express positive emotions and share them with others with the help of a purr.

But few people know: when do cats purr, why do they do it, and how do they do it?

What is purring? How does it manifest itself?

Murmuring (purring, rumbling) is considered to be not very loud, with a certain rhythm and duration, a vibrating sound, which is produced by representatives of the cat family.

It is believed that the most "small" of them most often murmur: domestic cats and lynxes. Also purring is seen in cheetahs, cougars, leopards. Some sources claim that even lions and tigers can purr.

However, there is no consensus on this issue among scientists: many of them say that large representatives of the cat cannot purr due to the special structure of the hyoid bone.

When communicating with kittens

For the first time, a cat begins to purr at a very young age, a couple of days after birth. Kittens make these sounds to show mom that they are happy and calm - for example, during feeding.

To suck milk and meow is difficult, but to suck and purr is the power of any kitten. The cat also purrs her kittens - in this way she supports them, encourages, if necessary, calms, shows her love and care for the offspring.

In collisions with other cats

Adult cats and cats purr each other, showing friendliness, and through the purr signal that they do not claim to foreign territory. It also happens that the purring occurs during the attack - in this case - it is a way to show your helplessness, and an attempt to escape from the aggression of another cat.

As a sign of gratitude to people

If we talk about the purring of cats in the society of people, then there are several possible reasons:

  • they purr, wanting to attract the attention of the owner,
  • they ask to be fed or simply treated to some favorite delicacy (they beg for a treat),
  • from pleasure. It is very well seen when you caress and caress them.

Also, purring cats can meet on the threshold of the house or express gratitude (for being fed, petted).

In all these cases, purring is a manifestation of the positive emotions that a cat is experiencing.

During the "purr therapy"

In addition, scientists associate with purring the theory of strengthening bones through the vibration that occurs with it. To date, British specialists have discovered and documented an effect in literature, referred to as “purr therapy”.

Confirmation of the "work" of this therapy in practice are the results of long-term studies, in the process of which the effect of purring on relief of edema, pain, shortness of breath, acceleration of the healing process in the treatment of tendon and bone injuries has been established.

Purring stimulates the cat's brain to produce a special hormone, which in turn, acts primarily on the cat itself - as a sedative or anesthetic.

However, the cat is able to treat not only itself, but also other felines, and even humans. Pay attention to how cats come to you, when you are ill, where they go, what places they tread on their paws, and what sounds they make at the same time. With high probability it can be argued - it will be a cat rumbling.

As you can see, cats have a lot of reasons for purring and everything depends on the situation. At the same time, the murmur itself may differ significantly - intonation, tempo / rhythm, timbre of sound.

If you know your pet well, in most cases you will be able to determine the cause of the purring on your own.

How do cats get to purr?

We are able to observe the murmur, understand the causes and reasons for its occurrence. And what can we say about the mechanism of production of these very purring sounds? Oddly enough, but scientists have not fully studied.

What is clear is that a special organ that would produce such sounds was not found in cats. For the rest, instead of a clear answer, we are offered a number of scientifically based assumptions / theories:

  1. The purr is provoked by the vibrations of the cat's lungs.
  2. Occurs when the movement / circulation of blood in the body of cats changes.
  3. In recent studies, the purring mechanism is described as a sequence: “the occurrence of electrical impulses in the cat's cerebral cortex — the vocal cords receive these impulses — contraction of the muscles associated with them”.

How does the purring sound reproduction mechanism work?

The “murmuring apparatus” itself is a thinly connected hyoid bones, which are located between the base of the skull and the base of the tongue. But it is the contraction of the muscles near the vocal cords that causes their vibration, and, accordingly, the emergence of purring sounds.

At the same time, the cat's mouth and nose are involved in their reproduction, while the vibration spreads throughout its body. One of the features of purring is the inability to listen to the heartbeat of the cat, to follow the breath.

If necessary, to stop the purr sounds, it is recommended to turn on the water from the tap - during its course the cat stops purring.

Thank pets for purring!

We should be grateful to purring cats for their amazing sensitivity, ability to relieve stress, soothe anxiety, reduce headache and stabilize pressure.

We are not murmuring with you, but we can otherwise show our love and care, say “thank you” for being near, or stroke or treat you with something tasty. Our attention to them will be the best thanks!

Where does this unique sound come from?

Despite the long study of this issue, it is difficult to unambiguously identify the causes, but nevertheless, the main situations in which the cat begins to purr have been established.

Only when they were born, blind and helpless babies find their mother precisely because of this sound, so she calms them down and announces their presence. Thanks to this, the kitten can determine where his treasured source of food and drink is located, and the mother cat, after hearing the rumbling of its young, remains calm for their health and mood.

The cat begins to make rhythmic sounds in those moments when it is really good and emotions just going wild, for example, on the owner's lap. Substituting under his arms his soft tummy and ears, the pet starts his little motor and can not stop for a long time. Try to scratch your pet behind the ear, and you will understand why cats purr when you caress them. A smile of pleasure and delight literally spreads on the restless face.

Other situations when cats purr

In addition, the cat also begins to make similar sounds when it feels bad, so it tries to calm and relax itself. This happens very rarely.

Why do cats purr differently when they are angry? If there is someone outside the bowl, the animal may start to turn on the motor, but more aggressively, making it clear that any threat to its food is extremely outrageous.

When a kitten hunts, he is in a state of hype and begins to make the most ridiculous and amazing sounds.

Why do cats purr when they fall asleep? It's all very simple: for pets it is one of the methods to combat insomnia, as for a person, for example, to count sheep or listen to the sounds of rain.

How does a cat engine work?

Cats can purr for hours for no apparent reason, accompanying their song with all sorts of modulations. Despite the fact that it seems as if the animal begins to breathe more often, it is not, the respiratory process does not accelerate for a second. Cat engine works both on the inhale and at the exit. Thus, a certain vibration is created, and the vocal cords at this moment close and open due to the muscles of the larynx. Thus, the stream of air, passing through the ligaments, is converted into a characteristic sound.

An interesting fact is that in fact cats make a lot more sounds, but not all of them can perceive the human ear. The frequency range of purring is from 25 to 150 Hz. The most amazing thing is that this frequency is used in medicine for the healing of bone tissue. Perhaps this is the answer to the question of why cats purr and lie down on a sore point. Perhaps, therefore, they are trying to cure a person with the help of sound therapy.


Our furry favorites conceal many secrets and still not unraveled mystical things. The question of why cats purs is only one of the millions of questions related to the habits and lifestyle of these animals. In any case, cats definitely like to be petted, and sometimes they start to purr, only after hearing something good about themselves. Have you ever noticed how they react to praise or just to affectionate appeal? That is, they understand when they are treated with love, and try to show reciprocity with all available methods.

Causes of purring

For whom are cats purring? For others or for yourself? Both. In some situations, the animal gives us to understand how good and calm he is with us.

In others, it does this for another purpose:

  • In this way, the cat gets rid of stress. Creating vibrations of a certain frequency, it adjusts the entire body to work in a single relaxed form: blood pressure stabilizes, the frequency of heart contractions decreases, the nervous system returns to normal.
  • There is a preparation for a dream. The purring of the cat plays the role of relaxation, all processes slow down, the body adjusts itself to rest.
  • The mother cat is thus in contact with her kittens. Mummy sends them a calming signal with the help of purr, gives a feeling of security. And kittens notify her about their health and well-being. A sick unviable kitten will not have the strength even to purr.
  • When the baby makes these sounds while nursing, he most likely expresses his gratitude to her for food and maternal warmth.
  • The same thing happens in relation to man. The pet thanks him for a characteristic purr for food, shelter, care and affection.
  • In this way, the pet can express the joy of meeting. If you haven’t been at home for a long time, most likely on the threshold of the apartment you will be greeted by a purr of a cat.
  • Veterinarians claim that purring the cat relieves pain. Vibrations affect her brain and the body as a whole, like anesthesia, the animal accelerates wound healing and faster inflammatory processes.
  • Communicating with congeners, purring cat shows thereby its location, lack of aggression and an invitation to play.

Is there any benefit for a person?

You, probably, heard more than once that cats, allegedly, can treat a person? Large-scale research on this topic was not conducted, but many believe that the cat's murmur helps them to recover during the illness and has the ability to relieve pain. In various sources, you can even find a gradation, saying that cats of different colors treat different diseases.

It is believed that:

  • The most powerful energy in black cats. Murcha on their knees or near the head of their owner, they can relieve him of hypertension, arthritis, osteochondrosis, heart disease, the effects of stroke. Doctors - energy therapists claim that these diseases are peculiar to people with a surplus of negative energy in the body, and cats are subject to this energy to take and neutralize. Black cats, in comparison with animals of other colors, have double abilities for this.
  • Red cats do not take anythingBut they are able to generously share positive energy with the owner. Stroking such a pet that purrs, huddling up to you, you get a charge of strength, vigor and good mood. Red cats will make you a big optimist.
  • White animals are considered a cure for all diseases. In Britain, these cats are even sold in special pharmacies, like some kind of antibiotic, and the specialists in animal therapy tell you how to deal with a baleen beast in order to get a therapeutic effect. During illness, white cats help replenish low energy levels.
  • Gray cats combine the useful qualities of black and white animals. They take a part of the negative energy from a person and give a positive in return. As a result, the body returns to balance and the person recovers thanks to the purring of the cat.

It was officially established and confirmed in a medical institution by the fact that stroking a contented purring cat fora few minutes leads to normalization of blood pressure, reduces the risk of recurrent heart attack and stroke. Sessions of this therapy have an effect comparable to the effect of meditation. The man calms down, completely relaxes.

It is only necessary to note that you will not receive the therapeutic effect of the purring of a cat if you hold it forcibly. He himself knows how much time he needs to contact, and after completing his mission, he jumps off his knees and leaves you. An excess of negative energy can harm the animal. Therefore, trust his natural intuition, and then communication with the cat will bring you only benefit and joy.

The first theory about the murmur of a cat

According to experts, the most realistic theory is that the purring of cats is done with vocal cords and is used to calm both themselves and the host.

The process begins with the cerebral cortex and appears on the result of external stimuli. Next, the nerve impulses are held by the larynx, and the muscles of the larynx begin to vibrate and then the cats purr.

Some more experts say that the main source of cat sounds is the so-called hyoid bones, which are located at the base of the skull.

The third theory of murmur

An important and demanding attention, experts pay attention to vascular theory. That is, there is a difference in the pressure of the blood passing through the body when exposed to absolutely any emotional state. At this time, the chest of the cat transmits vibration into the air sinuses and then a purr sound appears.

The reasons why the cat is purring

Factors due to which a cat can purr a lot:

  • Emotions, both positive and negative,
  • Behavioral factors.

The infusion of the animal may be different:

  • Good-natured
  • Alert,
  • Scared
  • Aggressive and so on.


Data from many studies suggest that cats purr to calm down, at this time:

  • Pressure normalizes
  • There is a neutralization of nervous overstimulation.

Many people have noticed more than once that the purr of the animal begins at the most unusual moment, and the situation may be completely unsuitable (in the car, when visiting a veterinarian). For example, the mother - cat with her rumbling calms the babies, thus informing that she is near and everything is fine.

Very often, the owners of the seals notice the play in the pet's head at the meeting. This is called cat "hello." In this way, the cat shows its welcome and joy at the arrival of the owner. Mumbling is also possible.

This is a kind of requirement that arises with a lack of attention or just want affection. Also, this reaction cat can be when you open the refrigerator or any other place where the pet is located. This is the reaction of waiting for lunch or dinner.

Sound therapy

If a cat has a low rumbling timbre, then it restores metabolic processes and reduces possible pain. Therefore, in time of illness, the fur may experience purring of such a timbre. Today, experts are working to create ways to use cat purr as a cure for people..

Interesting about the purr

  • If during examination at the vet the cat purred, the doctor will not be able to examine the cat or listen to the heartbeat. And all because of the fact that everything inside rattles and conduct a quality inspection will not succeed. However, modern veterinarians have noticed a very important feature, if you turn on the water, the cat stops purring and is busy pouring water.
  • If you thought that all felines could purr, then you were wrong. There are animals that do not know how to purr, namely:
  • Wild animals,
  • Lions
  • Tigers
  • Leopards.
  • Also once it was seen as a little dog trying to purr. Experts noted that perhaps at a very young age, a puppy was raised or lived with a cat.
  • The question that interested many owners is why cats purr and touch their paws? The answer to this question was found by British scientists. In their opinion, this way the cat relaxes, perhaps even getting ready for bed. There is nothing wrong with these manipulations at all, so there is no need to worry with such movements.

It is very important when the cat is trying to communicate with the owner, expressing his thoughts and emotions, talking about their grievances or vice versa. Now you know how cats purr and what they want to tell you. Важно прислушиваться к своему питомцу, ведь мы в ответе за тех, кого приручили.

Механизм появления звуков

В отношении механизма образования оригинальных звуков, произносимых кошкой, ученые-зоологи и ветеринарные специалисты считают, что существует несколько вариантов.

In this embodiment, the owner hears a characteristic cat murmur, reminiscent of a quiet tractor

In the larger representatives of the cat genus, the sinus sinuses are not so thin and are hidden behind a layer of cartilage tissue. That is why only homemade pets and their smaller wild relatives are capable of creating unique sounds.

The question of what cats purr, there is no consensus among pundits. However, both zoologists, and veterinary specialists, and experienced breeders agree that the appearance and intensity of characteristic sounds depend on the emotional state of the pet.

Causes of purring

There are several reasons for a cat to make peculiar sounds only:

  • The relationship between cat mom and kitten. Such a vibrating dialogue is typical for finding out the state of health of babies. A well-fed and healthy kitten muttering informs mummy that he is fine. Cat response can mean safety for kittens. In the wild environment, the meowing of babies will attract predators, but quiet vibrating sounds will be heard by the mother cat at a considerable distance from the nest. This will allow her to calmly hunt, without fear of offspring.
  • Characteristically purring at the time of sucking mother's milk. In this case, it can be regarded as satisfaction and a sign of gratitude for satiety. The cat-mother often purrs, showing the cubs that there is nothing to be afraid of.

  • The reason why cats purr, experts of these animals consider complacency under stress. Vibration of a certain amplitude leads to the normalization of blood pressure, which increases with psychoemotional arousal. The heart rate returns to normal, the nervous system calms down, and the cat recovers from the resulting stress. In this case, the pet is in a state similar to nirvana, detachment from external stimuli of the surrounding world.
  • Quite often cats purr before bedtime. Oscillatory movements help calm the pet, prepare the body for rest, help to disconnect from irritating factors (light, sound, odors). A kind of preparation improves the sleep and well-being of the animal.
  • Most owners believe that the reason why cats purr is thanks. The content of cat life pets can express, emitting a characteristic vibrational sounds. Most often, this phenomenon is observed after a treat favorite treat, stroking.
  • Often, cat purring occurs after a long wait for the beloved master. Bored, the animal expresses its joy and meow, and quivering vibration. Welcoming rumble indicates a positive psycho-emotional state, joy and satisfaction. A cat can greet with purring not only its owner, but also another individual. In this case, when meeting or meeting, such vibrating sounds speak of a benevolent attitude of the cattle towards another animal.
  • It is believed that the characteristic sounds are a kind of exercise for the muscles. Nearly two-thirds of their lives are spent in their sleep, in an inactive state, fluffy homebodies. To maintain the muscles of the ligamentous apparatus, the diaphragm and intercostal muscles in tone, the cat purrs, warning the atrophy of the muscular-ligamentous apparatus. Scientists also believe that the high purity of vibration helps the entire musculoskeletal system of the beast.
  • The owners are interested in why cats purr when you caress them.. An unequivocal answer to this question is impossible. The fact is that the rumbling in this case can be both with the good-natured disposition of the cat, and with its dissatisfaction with stroking. More often, it is tranquility accompanied by a satisfied purr of an animal in response to stroking pleasant to the body.

  • Rumbling helps the pet in maintaining health. Veterinarians often note the fact that the sick, operated animals purr. A certain frequency of oscillations with characteristic feline sounds acts as an anesthetic, improves metabolism and healing processes of wounds. Many scientists attribute the therapeutic effects of rumbling, not only to the cats themselves, but also to humans. It is believed that the characteristic sounds contribute to the reduction of cardiovascular and nervous diseases in the owners.
  • With the help of the purr pet can ask for something tasty from the ownerafter hearing him go to the kitchen or tear open the refrigerator door.
  • The reason why cats murmur can serve not only positive emotions, but also the animal’s negative attitude towards something.. For example, fear can make a frightened animal urch.

The variety of reasons that encourage the pet to make sounds unique to the animal world suggests that the main factor of sound formation is the emotional and psychological state of the beast. In this way, the cat communicates with the outside world, and with its owner.

For more information on why cats purr, see this video:

How to understand by the sound that the cat wants

Talkability of the animal depends on the breed, and on individual characteristics. Oriental and Siamese cats among breeders are considered the most sociable. Like to "talk" and representatives of the popular British breed. Sociability largely depends on the temperament of the animal. In the same breed there are both silencers and lovers of small talk.

The dream of any owner of furry animals is the ability to understand what the purring of a cat means. The similarity of such a "dictionary" can be considered a cat purr.

Scientists believe that the human ear is able to distinguish the 16 voice signals that a cat gives. By about the age of three months, the kitten fully masters vocabulary.

To understand the cat's language, you should carefully listen to the intonation. As a rule, lulling purring in a relaxed atmosphere indicates that the cat is satisfied, well-fed and supportive. So the animal expresses sympathy and appreciation to the owner. Uterine rumbling and even hissing may indicate fear or anger.

If the cat meets the owner with a short “meow” on a high note, and then begins to purr, then in cat language this means a usual greeting. In the event that the animal experiences joy when meeting with the owner, several such “meows” will follow.

Rumbling with a demanding long meow means most likely a request. Owners often encounter such sounds when the pet is hungry or begging for some tasty food. Approximately with such intonation the cat can complain about something.

An animal can express anger, fear or pain by means of a loud and prolonged meow. Murmuring in this case may also indicate health problems or fright.

Of great importance in mastering the cat's tongue are not only sounds, but also body movements, especially the tail, the expression of the eyes and even twitching of the tips of the ears and whiskers.

Interesting Facts

What is surprising is not only how cats purr and where the sound comes from, but also many other facts about the mechanism of cat sound and communication through purring:

  • Between themselves, cats do not communicate as they do with a person. It is assumed that lulling vibrations are the result of the domestication of wild cats and a means of communication with people.
  • To stop the cat's purr, enough sound of flowing water.
  • Absolutely deaf from birth cats are capable of purring.
  • When rumbling, it is impossible to listen to the heartbeat of the animal.

The reproduction of the characteristic lulling sounds by a cat is one of the ways of manifestation of the emotional and mental state of the animal. With the help of the purr, the pet is trying to get something, get attention, complain or calm down. Attentive attitude and sincere interest in the issues of zoopsychology will allow the owner to better understand his furry beauty.

In some cases, dying, the cat purrs loudly. . Zoopsychologists name several reasons why cats leave to die from home.

Often, they show aggression. The reasons why a cat bites when you stroke it are numerous.

Some zoologists tend to believe that the reason why cats are crumpled paws. Monotonous movements of paws, purring contribute to calm the pet.