Why do we cats purr?

Purr, purr, purr…  I just love to purr! Generally speaking, every time we cats purr, we do so out of contentedness, because we feel comfy, safe and want you to pet and make over us. The bad thing is that we don’t always purr out of pleasure, because purring is also our way of letting you know that we’re in pain.

All cats, no matter what breed we may be, learn to purr from day two after we’re born and, as you will surely have noticed, we keep up the purring habit forever.

You humans still aren’t too clear about the physical reason for our purring. In fact, you have three theories to explain how we cats make that sound. One theory says that we purr as a result of causing rapid tremors in the larynx muscles when they vibrate every time we inhale and exhale. Another theory is based on our having false vocal cords. And the third theory says that purring takes place in the posterior vena cava.

Humans, how we do our purring is the least of it all, the important thing is for you to know why we purr. Although we purr most of the time for ourselves, with the exception of female cats who have just had a litter, it’s clear that we cats make this sound to communicate with other cats and with you. On purring, we want to tell you that we feel good, that we feel comfy and that we don’t want you to do anything in particular. All we want is for you to simply let us be.

As I’ve already mentioned to you, we’re able to purr from day two after we’re born and we use purring to communicate with our mother … which is just what we need, because we don’t know any other way of connecting with her.

Every time we purr, our brain secretes endorphin, the substance responsible for making us feel pleasure. So, it’s logical that we purr at any point in time that we find enjoyable, such as dinnertime, on dozing off in a comfortable place… But this endorphin also has a calming effect at painful times, so if we have an accident or we find ourselves at the vet’s and hurting, the most normal thing is for us to starting purring to calm our pain and ask you to take good care of us and not hurt us.

Besides, over the years, you’ve realized that our sweet purring also calms you. In fact, you human have studies showing that our purring can have a positive influence on your well-being, and many of you “use us” to calm your babies’ tantrums. Imagine that!

So that’s how it goes, we purr out of pleasure and, then again, sometimes we purr out of pain. I prefer the first reason. It’s much more enjoyable. Purr, purr, purr!


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