Cat Owners Ask: "Why Do Cat's Purr?" - The Trupanion Blog
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Cat Owners Ask: “Why Do Cat’s Purr?”

Read on to learn more about why do cat's purr and other communication tips.

Cat vocalizations are common when you have a kitten or adult cat. Whether they want attention or to take a nap, you may hear your cat purr. As a cat owner, you may be puzzled by your cat’s behavior, and find yourself asking questions like, “why do cat’s purr?” All cats are different, and some may purr more often than others. We sat down with Trupanion veterinarian Dr. Caroline Wilde to learn more about the meaning behind your cat’s purrs and better understand your furry friend’s communication style.

Cat questions answered: why do cats purr

Why do cats purr? Are they happy and content?

Why do cats purr?

There are many reasons why your cat may purr. Some cats purr a lot, while others only purr when they nap. For this reason, notating if your cat does purr more often, maybe worth looking into. For example, “I am not sure that anyone really knows exactly why cat’s purr. We most often observe cats purring when they’re perceived to be content, though I have seen sick or stressed cats purr, in an effort to self-soothe,” says Wilde. You may be able to identify if something seems abnormal.

If you have any concerns, please seek the medical care of your veterinarian. They can determine the best course of action and a treatment plan for your feline friend.

What does a cat’s purr really mean?

It could mean so many things! Especially since it is a unique way for your kitten or cat to communicate. Naturally, your cat may be showing you how happy they are. For instance, “cats often purr when they are content or relaxed,” states Wilde.

Did you know?

Wilde continues, “the sounds of purring is thought to be caused by vibrations of the structures of the throat.” It’s almost like your best friend is serenading you with a song. That is music to our ears.

Is my cat trying to communicate when they purr?

Cat body language and vocalizations may help you better understand your best friend. In addition, purring may be a way for your cat to let you know how they feel. Wilde dives into cat communication below.

“When your cat purrs, it is often communicating contentment, or that they are relaxed. In contrast, they may self-soothe when they’re in pain or stressed. Looking at the context in which the cat is purring may help you figure out what the cat is communicating, as well as evaluating your cat’s body language. For example, if your cat just ate, and is laying in the sun relaxing, we can infer that purr is communicating your cat is content. However, it’s not uncommon in the veterinary office, for a very sick cat to purr.”

Why cats purr: the signals of stress

If your cat is feeling sick, they may show you different signs, and use their purr as an indication. “Your cat may purr excessively if they are stressed, anxious, or in pain. Also, purring is thought to have some healing effects. In contrast, if there is a change in your cat’s purr, it may indicate a change in your cat’s neck or throat,” says Wilde.

The best thing to do if you notice a change in your cat is to seek medical care. The expertise of your veterinarian can help pinpoint the root of the problem. Also, it may be helpful to inform your veterinarian, when you notice the change, like if your cat is purring while they are urinating. It may indicate why your cat is stressed.

Your feline friend may purr due to being happy and content. It's a way for them to communicate with you.

A cat’s purr is a way for your cat to communicate with you

Whether you have a kitten that purrs loudly or an adult cat that purrs softly, it’s a way for your furry friend to communicate with you. By watching your cat’s behavior, notating any changes, and seeking the care of your veterinarian, your cat may use their voice to communicate more in the future.

To learn more about cat communication, read Understanding Cat Body Language to Help Your Feline Friend

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