Have you ever noticed your cat's purring and wondered what it means? Cat purring is a unique phenomenon that has puzzled scientists for years. While many people assume that cats purr when they're happy or content, there's much more to this behavior than meets the eye.
What is Cat Purring?
Cat purring is a low, vibrating sound that cats produce by contracting their laryngeal muscles. The sound is created when the cat inhales and exhales, and can range in volume and frequency.
Why Do Cats Purr?
Cats purr for a variety of reasons, and it's not always a sign that they're happy or content. Here are some of the reasons why cats purr:
- Comfort: Cats often purr when they're feeling relaxed and comfortable. It's a way for them to self-soothe and reduce stress.
- Communication: Cats also purr to communicate with their owners and other cats. They may use purring to express affection, ask for attention, or indicate that they're hungry.
- Healing: Studies have shown that cats may purr to promote healing and reduce pain. The vibrations created by purring may help to promote bone density and improve joint mobility.
- Stress Relief: Purring may also help cats to cope with stress and anxiety. When cats are stressed or anxious, they may purr to calm themselves down.
How Do Cats Purr?
The exact mechanism behind cat purring is still not fully understood. However, scientists have proposed several theories:
- Vibrations: One theory suggests that cat purring is created by the vibrations of the vocal cords as air passes through them.
- Brain Control: Another theory suggests that purring is controlled by the brain. The brain sends signals to the laryngeal muscles, causing them to contract and produce the purring sound.
- Healing: A third theory suggests that the vibrations created by purring may have healing properties. The vibrations may help to promote bone density and improve joint mobility.
In conclusion, cat purring is a fascinating behavior that serves multiple functions, including communication, healing, and stress relief. While the exact mechanism behind purring is still not fully understood, scientists are continuing to study this unique behavior to uncover its secrets.
- McComb, K., Taylor, A. M., Wilson, C., Charlton, B. D. (2009). The cry embedded within the purr. Current Biology, 19(13), R507-R508.
- Stryker, S. (2016). Why do cats purr? Retrieved from https://www.petmd.com/cat/behavior/why-do-cats-purr
- Whitten, A. (2019). The Science Behind Cat Purring. Retrieved from https://www.vet.cornell.edu/departments-centers-and-institutes/cornell-feline-health-center/health-information/feline-behavior-basics/science-behind-cat-purring