Pawderosa Pet Care Blog

The Surprising Reasons Why Cats Purr

Friday, May 22, 2015

Some cats have a raspy purr, like an old boat motor, and others have a smooth and steady purr like the constant buzzing of a ceiling fan or a bumble bee. No matter what the unique tone, chances are you fall a bit more in love with your kitty when they're curled on your lap, purring away. That simple sound is just so soothing! But there's a lot more mystery to it than you may have realized. We'll tell you why.

 

Although scientists aren't exactly sure why cats purr, from observation, we can see that cats often purr when they're content and something feels good, such as a person's hand petting them. But what many pet owners don't realize is that there are many other reasons cat purr too!

 

"Some cats also purr when they're hungry, injured, or frightened. And most surprisingly, purring frequencies have been shown to stimulate bone regeneration—yes, bone regeneration." [wired.com]

 

Cats use their larynx and diaphragm muscles when they inhale and exhale to create a purr, but the way the nervous system "generates and controls those contractions isn't yet understood."

 

Although scientists aren't exactly sure why cats purr, from observation, we can see that cats often purr when they're content and something feels good, such as a person's hand petting them. But what many pet owners don't know is that there are many other reasons why cats purr, similar to how humans will laugh, cry, organize or distract themselves to release and soften the impact of emotions.

 

"Some veterinarians and cat enthusiasts have observed cats lying alongside each other and purring when one is injured (a behavior termed 'purr therapy')," [wired.com]

 

One reason they may do this is actually quite practical – to help heal the injury, since "domestic cats purr at a frequency of about 26 Hertz, in a range that promotes tissue regeneration." Additionally, purring even when there is no injury, increases bone density in the same way that exercising does. It's so effective that "purr-like vibration devices have been patented for potential use in therapy, and some researchers have proposed strapping vibrating plates to astronauts' feet during long space flights to retain bone density."

 

So why do they do it to begin with? Well, firstly to communicate to those "near and dear, since cats purr at a frequency and volume too low to travel far." But they also purr to soothe themselves, similar to how humans will laugh, cry, organize or distract themselves to release and soften the impact of emotions.

 

But there's more to it than communication. Interestingly, "some veterinarians and cat enthusiasts have observed cats lying alongside each other and purring when one is injured (a behavior termed 'purr therapy')." [wired.com]

 

One reason they may do this is actually quite practical – to help heal the injury; "Domestic cats purr at a frequency of about 26 Hertz, in a range that promotes tissue regeneration." Additionally, purring even when there is no injury, increases bone density in the same way that exercising does. In fact, it's so effective that "purr-like vibration devices have been patented for potential use in therapy, and some researchers have proposed strapping vibrating plates to astronauts' feet during long space flights to retain bone density."

 

So next time your cat purrs against your leg or greets you at the door with that familiar sound – keep in mind they could be hungry, happy, or simply keeping their bones healthy. A good comparison to the cat's purr is the human laugh – we do it for all sorts of reasons, from joy to surprise, to discomfort or to be polite, just to name a few.








Categories


Recent Posts


Tags

Conserve behavior resources Fleas free shelter cat lady resolutions sea lion pet friendship exercise first American cat cafe video birds pain management products depression stray cat tecnu tips heat cat care history pet photography singing regret gifts hiking squirrel banned litterbox preschool camping dehydration Pets and Children parks dog walking tree frog call Breed Selection Training and Tips animal tracking device little girl tip public engagement Darwin portraits scratch Drought discipline puppies smart feeder Bay Area foxtails humans animal study pet bonding belly poison oak animals dog care pet how to pawderosa rescue animals cats designer GPS business trip trails artist children pet health dog kitten decor dogs pet food amazing pets animal behavior 2014 kittens foxtail friendship career rats pet videos dog walker rules of the road pet-proofing aggressive animals selfie dog portraits vine kids petcare cat breeds pet parenting social animals training tip bath health puppy care dentist Cat cafe grief grooming My Pet Lives On dog handler evolution treadmill speech professional care jealous dog obesity Puppy Training Tips training tool gardening parkour dog California lost dog Oakland socialization product Water Petco work poison grass study pet adoption pet obesity teeth outdoors Halloween bond science emotions style england chewing new year fur summer training purr humane society runaway pet russia holidays fence events gas new york pet loss support ocean affectionate babies rash pet relationship puppy outings house guests ecollar indoor cat crows How-to e-collar communication diet facts pet care house arthritis protect cat China jumping obese jump issues baby panda Off Doggie dog training paw print garden rules trail illness Family fun hip dysplasia pet etiquette dog behavior cat obesity Ebola home walking music dining out fish Great Panda animal science cat feeder safety office pet loss cleaning up cancer foods to avoid separation anxiety REI beach loss feral cat videos domestic abuse family elderly pets animal care breeds fox pets healing puppy

Archive