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Cat purring is an unusual form of communication and occurs in species of the feline family. Along with meowing, hissing, and growling, purring is an important signal to everyone – other cats, other animals, and humans. However, its background is complex and, depending on the context, can mean different things. Many people find the sound of purring extremely relaxing. Small cats purr, as well as older cats, pedigree cats, and cats with fur coats.
Purring is a cat’s first means of communication. Kittens are already in contact with their mothers from the first days of life. During feeding, when suckling milk, kittens can purr and eat at the same time. In addition, kittens being alone in the nest could maintain contact in this way. The purring is quiet enough not to expose the litter to predators.
A cat’s purr can be compared to a smile. We smile to foster social relationships and show contentment. That’s why our kittens purr when we stroke them. By purring they let us know that they are happy and content.
And how is it that our sweet little purr makes this pleasant sound? Interestingly, scientists still disagree on how cats produce this distinctive sound by vibrating their bodies without causing muscle tension or loss of breath. It’s not entirely clear if the purring sound comes from the laryngeal muscles or if the hyoid bone is responsible.
What Does a Cat Purring Mean?
Purring can have many meanings – here are some of them:
– Cats purr when they are happy
– Before a well-associated activity (before serving a meal, a moment before stroking)
– To rub up against people they like
– To calm themselves
– Purring relieves stress
– To get their owner’s attention (not to be confused with meowing)
– To clean their body
Positive Effects of Purring For The Cat’s Owner
We hear a lot about the positive effects of purring on cats. So why not benefit from purring yourself? The calming purr of our cats also produces happy hormones in our bodies that have a relaxing effect on us. A cat purring on our lap or in bed can not only improve our mood but also lower blood pressure and stress symptoms and reduce possible sleep disturbances.
Newborn Kittens Need To Learn To Purr
It sounds like a simple activity, but purring actually involves a lot of anatomical work. It takes some time for kittens to sound like their parents. However, the trials and tribulations of growing kittens have paid off; in the end, purring supports their health and muscle and bone development. Unlike meows, which cats use primarily to communicate with humans, purring is an integral part of their natural environment and occurs with or without humans. Wild cheetahs purr like domestic cats.
What If a Cat Doesn’t Purr?
A cat not only purrs in its own way but also in terms of individual volume. Some cats purr almost silently, and the only way to find and feel the vibrations from their body is to touch their neck or throat. Still, others don’t purr at all, and aside from vocal cord damage, scientists still don’t know why.
Unlike domestic cats, stray cats purr much less frequently, which leads to the stray kitten theory, which supposedly prevents kittens from purring to avoid attracting the attention of potential predators.
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