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Myths Behind the Purr

By Rachel O.

Happy? Hungry? Hurt? These are just some of the many reasons why your cat may purr. For so long, it’s been a common misconception that cats purr only when they are happy. This may come as a surprise to some, but cats purr for numerous reasons. Depending on your cat's personality they could purr when they are hurt, when they are trying to soothe themselves, or even when they are hungry. Curious as to why your sweet ball of fluff may be purring? Check out some of the reasons and their explanations.

Reasons Cats Purr

● Cats purr when they are happy- well, yes and no. Cats are interesting creatures and they are so unique, having their own specific personalities. Very rarely are 2 cats the same. Some cats may be avid purrers and purr the moment you pet them. However, some cats can be happy and not purr at all.

● Cats purr when they are hurt- Cats that are hurt or in pain may purr, especially when they are asleep. This is seen as a way to help repair their body while they sleep. Cats purr at a low frequency and it is thought to be a method of healing for them. This low frequency causes vibrations that help heal wounds, build muscle, and lessen pain and swelling.

● Cats purr to soothe themselves- some people believe that cat purrs have a healing power. Cats purring to soothe themselves is comparable to a child sucking their thumb. This purr helps relieve stress and/or pain. So if your sweet kitty is ever purring during a stressful situation (like going to the vet) it is probably to help ease their nerves, deal with their anxiety, or to stay calm.

● Cats purr when they are hungry- Hungry? Yes, some cats even purr when they are hungry! Now this isn’t just your typical purr. This purr is usually mixed with an unpleasant cry or meow, similar to a baby crying. Many cat owners recognize this sound and know that their cat is requesting food. In fact, studies have shown that even non-cat owners can tell the difference between this type of purr and the others.

So the next time your fluffy friend purrs keep in mind that it may mean more than you think! For more information about cats, check out some of our other blogs