Cat owners often look forward to hearing their kittens purr to relax and calm themselves down after a stressful day. Cats, however, actually purr because of a myriad of reasons.
Purring is just one of the sounds almost all breeds of domestic cats make. In the past, we used to believe that a purring cat is a happy and content cat, but if you are a cat owner, it is important to know that your cat may purr to communicate different feelings or needs.
While it is true that cats can purr when they feel happy (you can get your cats to purr by stroking them or snuggling with them, for example), cats can also purr when they feel nervous or scared.
Cats can also purr when they are feeling stressed. This can happen when something new to them happens or when there is a new addition to the house. Any change in their routine can cause cats to get stressed, and purring can help them relieve their anxiety. Older cats can also purr to communicate to other cats that they are not seeking to fight.
Many cats, particularly younger kittens, purr to get their mother’s attention. Pet cats also do this to get your attention and, in a way, reassure themselves that they have not been forgotten.
You may also notice your pets purring around feeding time, which means they might be hungry or simply want to be fed. Observe your pets closely and you may also identify the difference between a “hungry” purr and a “satiated” purr.
Much like how some infants suck their thumb, kittens can also purr to self-soothe. This is because purring produces vibrations that can soothe pain and discomfort, making some experts believe that it is a self-healing mechanism.
Finally, cats can purr to show happiness and contentment. Oftentimes, purring is not the only observable sign of feline contentment. Other signs include relaxed legs, half-closed eyes, and a generally easy disposition.
After hearing these reasons, it is also interesting to learn that purring is a unique feature present in the domestic cat, although it has also been observed in other cat species like bobcats, cheetahs, and wild cats. Lions, although they are cats, too, are not biologically equipped to purr unlike domestic cats. Instead of purring, big cats roar.
For the longest time, it has been thought that cats purr as a sign of happiness and contentment, but there’s actually more to a cat’s purr. Domestic cats purr to communicate their feelings and needs and may even have soothing and healing effects.
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