Have you ever wondered, “Why do cats purr?”
You are not alone. Not only do cats have us mesmerized in every way possible, but they make a sound so comforting that it makes us wonder what true comfort is. This article will take a look at the different reasons for cats purring, and how they are making us give them exactly what they want…
What is Purring?
Purring is the sound that cats voluntarily make during inhalation as well as exhalation. The sound has a frequency of between 25 and 150 Hertz and has a consistent pattern.
“Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles” – Scientific American
Cats have really changed over the years, especially since being tamed and turned into pets. It is only natural to understand that they have adapted to their environments and become accustomed to ‘living’ rather than ‘surviving’.
Cats can also purr in moments of distress and anxiety
Most of us think that the purring only occurs when a cat experiences certain levels of comfort, but this is not always the case. Your cat might purr when you stroke him or when you think he demands attention.
Cats can also purr in moments of distress and anxiety – like going to the vet for example.
Purring as Communication
The way we communicate is not always through language, even more so with animals. Think of when you might smile; sometimes it’s because you are happy, but other times you might smile because you are nervous or anxious. This might be the case with cats purring as well.
The University of Sussex decided to research this phenomenon of purring by examining domestic cats. According to this research domestic cats are able to create a certain cry that irritates their owners in order to satisfy their nutrition needs or craving for attention.
According to the study this ‘cry’ appeals to the nurturing instinct of their human owners.
“The team examined the sound spectrum of 10 cats’ purrs and found an unusual peak in the 220-to-520 hertz frequency range embedded in the lower frequencies of the usual purr. Babies’ cries have a similar frequency”. – Mnn
Purring as Healing
The other argument is that cats purr as a form of healing. Yes, you heard right!
According to researchers, “Various investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range (25 – 150 Hertz) can improve bone density and promote healing”. – Scientific American
Bioacoustics researcher Elizabeth von Muggenthaler believes that cats can indeed use purring to heal themselves. According to her, frequencies of the purring creates a vibration that is therapeutic for the growth of bones, healing of wounds and acts as a pain reliever. Von Muggenthaler’s studied a variety of felines including domestic cats, cheetahs and pumas to establish that all of them purr in the same range associated with anabolic bone growth. – Mnn
Did you know?
Not all cats can purr. The cats that are capable of purring include domestic cats, wild cats and other animals such as hyenas, raccoon and guinea pigs.
The interesting part of it all is that cats that are able to purr, cannot roar and cats that roar can’t purr.
cats that can purr are unable to roar; cats that can roar aren’t able to purr.
This has to do with the structure of the larynxes. The roaring cats don’t have stiff enough larynxes to allow purring.
So whether your furry friend is rubbing up against your leg or soaking up some sun with their sweet melodies, they are more in control than you might think.
Cats are smart enough to manipulate you into giving them attention and food, as well as healing the themselves all by making just one soothing precious sound.