Cats use a wide range of vocalizations to communicate, from chirping at the birds outside the window, to that loud miaow that says, ‘feed me now’, but perhaps the most intriguing feline sound of all is the purr. That almost ethereal sound that seems to bring with it a feeling of calm and relaxation. But how do they make this unique sound? The answer is not entirely clear. Despite many studies into the origins of the purr, this magical sound remains rather a mystery, and neither how, nor why it is produced has ever been fully revealed.
How do cats make the purring sound?
There have been several theories over the years as to exactly how cats make the purring sound. From blood flowing swiftly through vessels, to the vibration of the vocal cords by the laryngeal muscles, some theories are more convincing than others, but none have ever been fully proven. So, we’re unclear on how they purr, but do we know why they purr?
Cats purr for more than one reason
If you’ve ever been around a cat with her kittens, you may have noticed that mom cat will purr to her babies, using the purr as a method of communication and reassurance. Some believe that a cat’s purr has calming and healing qualities, that they purr to bring about feelings of peace and tranquillity, for themselves, their fellow felines, and their human companions. As any cat-lover will surely know, there’s nothing quite like the beautiful sound of our best friend purring on our lap! The theory of the healing properties of purring is rather fascinating when it’s known that cats purr when they’re happy and contented, but also when they’re stressed or in pain. Could they be healing themselves? There are more facts to back up this theory. A cat purrs at a frequency of 26 hertz. This is the exact same frequency used to heal tissue in vibrational therapies. It truly is fascinating, and another good reason to keep those kitties close by.
Do all cats purr?
Did you know that purring is not limited to our domesticated cats, but some big cats purr too? Florida panthers, bobcats, and lynxes all purr, but interestingly lions and tigers, the cats that roar, don’t purr, nor does any other animal, it’s another of those things that makes cats truly special, and more than a little magical.
Even though we know very little about how our cats make that alluring purring sound that we associate with love, comfort, and happiness, all we can do is enjoy those special purry moments with our furry friends, stroking them to elicit that mystical sound that may just be of benefit to our health, body, and mind.