Cat Purring FAQ
The purring comes from two membrane folds that are situated in the larynx behind the vocal cords and it happens during inhaling and exhaling . Cats purr 26 cycles per second, the same as an idling diesel engine. Scientists believe purring is produced by blood in a large vein in the chest cavity that vibrates and is then magnified by air in the windpipe.
Baby kittens respond to their mother’s purring and will nurse. Kittens start purring around one week old. When the babies purr, it’s a signal to the mother that they are getting their milk and are happy.
Purring can indicate more than pleasure. Deep purring could mean the cat is in pain or distress. A cat in labor may purr. Also, cats may purr in fear, anxiety, when waiting for food and being petted.
Besides cats, other animals who purr include: wild cats (such as mountain lions and bobcats), mongooses, hyenas, guinea pigs, and raccoons.
Sometimes a cat’s purring takes on a unique twist to its sound and is quite annoying – especially when you’re trying to sleep at 3:00 A.M. The cat adds a high-frequency cry/meow to the purr on purpose – to get our attention – usually wanting fed!
The cat’s purring averages a 25 Hz frequency and many experts believe it to having healing benefits, similar to physical therapy. Cats do a wonderful job of lowering stress and blood pressure and purring may help with that.
Jessie Cat says: When I first met my human, I didn’t purr. She thought something was wrong with me. I remember her placing her ear on my body trying to hear if I was purring at all. Finally after two months, I relaxed enough and now I purr all the time! And I meow and trill a lot, too!
Gina says: I researched to see if some cats just don’t purr and learned that there are some that choose not to or do so rarely. The day I heard and felt her purring brought a huge smile to my face!