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
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.
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
What does a cat’s purr really mean?
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.
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.
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.
is a digital content writer and editor for Trupanion. She spends her workday writing for the Trupanion blog. She loves writing about pets, being inspired by pets, and luckily gets to hang out with her rescue dogs all day long. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and traveling with her family. Her work has been featured on the DOGTV blog, KitNipBox blog, Get Your Pet blog, Fansided, among many others.