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Why Is Your Cat's Purr So Special?

The purr. The hypnotising white noise exclusive to felids. It does not fail to put a smile on my face and upon hearing it, it leaves my cognition in shambles; forcing me to speak like a toddler and begin caressing my cat.

I knew it! Cats can control minds.

inventor cat why cats purr

I am clearly not the only one who thinks this because a lot of scientists over the years have investigated into the meaning and the power behind the cat’s purr.

The purr does not only have some feel-good benefits but it can also be therapeutic, down to a molecular level.

How do cats purr?

This was not known for a while and was in constant debate however, it seems that there is a general consensus as to how cats purr.

Scientists have been able to demonstrate that cats would purr through the intermittent signalling of their laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. This means that cats would dilate and constrict the glottis – which is the part of the cat’s larynx that surrounds the vocal cords – intermittently, this would cause vibrations of the air every time they breathed in or out.

This let them purr with a consistent pattern and frequency of around 25 and 150 Hertz.

There is another theory that some scientist believe can explain the cat's purr, we were able to dig up their findings in the Veterinary Journal - see below.

inventor cat why cats purr

Why do they purr?

We all know that cats purr when you scratch in just the right spot or, when they give you a little love head butt and fall on your lap they'll usually do this whilst purring. In these situations the cat is purring to communicate happiness and contentment.

To really understand the effects of the purr we have to analyse different situations as to why they would choose to purr.

Cats are introduced to the purr from the minute they are born! New born kittens would be temporarily blind and deaf and mama cat would purr to lead them to their food or warmth. Kittens would also purr to bond with mama cat and to demonstrate that they are OK.

Going deeper than communication. Purring has a biological effect on the cat which may have a collateral effect on us humans.

It has been shown that cats purr in times of stress and anxiety. The reason behind this is that purring releases feel-good endorphins that creates a soothing affect to their current emotional state. It is almost similar to what mums would do when you were younger, kissing your bruised knee better after you feel over; it doesn’t make the bruise disappear but it does mask the pain and makes you stop crying.

You may notice your cat purr at the vet and it would be for this exact reason. A self-therapy, to make stressful moments more bearable – learn more about how to get your cat to like the vet, get your eBook for free.

Finally, to me this is amazing; cats would purr in times of pain. But why? Why would a cat spend energy in potentially its lasts moments to purr?

Cat's purr when their happy, but if you want to see your cat euphoric, that's when you use catnip!

The only reason must be linked to survival.

A cat would not spend energy in doing something whilst injured, that would not help them to get better or survive. Take this example:

If you fell from a ladder and hurt yourself so bad that you couldn't move. What would you do? You wouldn’t take a selfie or start crawling in pain to cook dinner. You would get your phone to call an ambulance or shout for help, both of those things are to do with surviving.

This would explain how the purr has remained intact during the evolution of the cat; from the first true cat, the Proailurus, to the domesticated cats we have today. This is true to all cats no matter their geographical location, therefore the purr must be a very important survival mechanism.

We mentioned earlier that cat’s purr at a frequency of around 25 and 150 Hertz. There have been various studies that show that sound frequencies within this range can improve bone density and promote healing.

This works by the low frequency vibrations creating pressure and low level stress on the cat’s bones and muscles, exercising them to become stronger and reinforcing themselves by adding more muscles and density to the bones. In a way it creates a healing process to the tissues and musculoskeletal system.

This is why you may see a cat purring whilst they sleep. In the wild, cats would go for long periods of rest in between hunts. Resting and being immobile for long periods of time can have a depreciative effect on any musculoskeletal system, therefore a cat would counteract this through purring or A.K.A vibrational therapy.

Without a doubt the purr is amazing. I do not think we will ever know how they learnt it but we do know that there is a whole myriad of benefits to your cat and you can be at ease now that you understand a little more about your kitty.

inventor cat why cats purr



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