View Full Version : Cat purring...

Robert Bodling
October 18th 06, 11:57 AM
What causes a cat to purr?

October 18th 06, 02:22 PM
>Why do cats purr and what causes them to purr? What is the purr sound you
>hear from them? Is it the rhythm of their heart, or what?

From http://cats.about.com/cs/catmanagement101/a/why_cats_purr.htm

Why and How do Cats Purr?

My mailbox often brings interesting challenges, as in this morning's
short question from Gideon: "Do cats purr when they are alone?" What a
great question! As I replied to Gideon, it is on the order of, "If a
tree falls in the woods, and there's no one there to hear it, does it
make a sound?" Or - "Does the light burn inside a closed
refrigerator?" Yet, by far, I think the question about cats purring is
the much more fascinating of the three. Truthfully, I don't know if
cats purr when they are alone. It seems likely that they do, if one
understands a little about why cats purr.
Most experienced "cat wranglers" now know that cats don't purr only
when they are content and happy. They also purr during tense or
traumatic moments. When suddenly and violently injured, even at
moments near death, a cat will often purr. I've often likened this to
saying, "Please don't hurt me any more. I'll be good," but recent
studies have put a more scientific spin on this seeming anomaly.

It seems that the measurable Hertz of a cat's purr lies between 25 and
150. Coincidentally (or not) it has been found that sound frequency in
this range can stimilate bone growth and healing.

That cats have remarkable endurance, and are quite stoic to trauma is
well known to veterinary professionals; it is not unlikely that this
instinct to purr under duress is directly related.

Purring under stress has more colorfully been described as the cat's
mantra, e.g., a self-soothing, self-healing, relaxing, vibrating sound
(sort of like the Ommmm one might hum while in the lotus position.
Notice the vibration in your lips, nose and throat? I bet most of us,
if we had our "druthers," would much rather be able to purr!

October 18th 06, 02:28 PM
"Robert Bodling" > wrote in message
> What causes a cat to purr?
What a great question.

Emotion, good or bad, I think.

We know they purr when they feel good, since they do it when we pet them,
or, in the case of my chow hound, when they are eating, heh.

But I have heard people say that injured cats sometimes purr, and when my
tortoiseshell alley cat was giving birth she purred the whole time, and I
know that did not feel good.

Edna Pearl
October 18th 06, 05:20 PM
"Robert Bodling" > wrote in message
> What causes a cat to purr?

I was told by somebody wise in the ways of cats that purring learned during
nursing. The mother cat purrs to say, "It's time to eat." The kittens purr
to talk back to the mother, "We're eating now." So purring is just another
part of the cat's vocabulary, associated with positive events.

I don't know that I buy this, but it's a sweet story :-)

I can certainly attest to cats' purring near death. I once picked up a cat
from the middle of the street where it had been hit by a car, and it purred
all the way to the vet's office and Kitty Heaven. Broke my heart.