The Cat Purring Sound
The Real Whats and WHYs
What does it mean? Why do they do it? Questions that have been around since day 1 of the domestication of Felis Catus.
As humans, most of us have been told from an early age, cats purr when they are happy. They purr because they like us and feel safe with us or are pleased with whatever we may be doing at that moment. Petting them or playing with them or just spending quiet time with them next to us and in our space.
And while this may all, for the most part, be true. The actual reasons can be much more complex.
First of all, a kitten learns to purr when it is but a few days old. It is thought to be a bonding mechanism between the newborn and its mother. A signal that baby is present and accounted for and well.
A cats' purr is produced during the entire respiratory cycle. On the in-breath and the out-breath. While other feline sounds are limited to the exhalation. Such as meows and chirps.
Another thing particularly interesting about purring and the cats that do purr, for not all cats are capable of purring, is that a cat that purrs cannot roar. Conversely, a cat that roars, cannot purr. Purring cats can growl but they cannot roar. Generally.
Cat Purr Healing?
One more recent scientific theory is the healing effect of cat purrs.
Cats have been observed to purr not only when content, but also when injured or in pain and discomfort.
Much like we, as humans, can feel comforted by the subtle sound and vibration of purring. For your cat, it is also a physically healing and comforting activity. Akin to the thumb sucking observed in small children but much more beneficial.
Cats purr within the frequency range of 25 to 150 Hertz. Scientific studies have shown that sound frequencies within this range can promote healing, tissue regeneration and improve bone density.
Cats are known to be quick healers from things such as bone breaks and fractures. Also, cases of bone cancer and joint problems in cats are pretty uncommon. And while it's safe to say that purring encourages healing in cats themselves, is it possibly of any benefit to us, as human beings?
Purring and Healing Humans
Anyone who has ever been stressed out, ill or otherwise uncomfortable around a purring cat can certainly attest to the calming, soothing and overall sense of ease and relaxation generated by having their cat purring away nearby. Or someone else's cat for that matter!
Healers have used the power of sound in their work for centuries. Certain frequencies or sound tones are believed to have various healing effects on the body.
In cats, purrs release endorphins and can possibly do the same in humans. Purrs also lower stress hormones. By lowering stress hormones, blood pressure is regulated. Healing and the ability to cope with illness are promoted.
Purring can also help cats with their upper respiratory issues. With conditions that cause trouble breathing, studies have shown purring helps the cat to breathe easier. This is likely to be the reason that heart disease-related respiratory distress is not nearly as common in cats as it is in dogs and humans. Which suggests that a person having respiratory symptoms could derive benefits from being close to a purring cat as well.
There are even stories of migraines in humans being eased or halted while lying with their heads next to a purring feline.
As Cat-Lovers, we all agree that regardless of scientific facts and figures, there is nothing sweeter to the ear than the purrs of our furry babies.