Why Do Cats Purr?

Cats are known for many things, among them meowing, sleeping the day away, and getting the zoomies at 3 a.m. One of their most famous and endearing behaviors is purring. But why do cats purr so much, and what does it mean? Read on for some fast facts!

Cats purr to bond

Even before they open their eyes, kittens purr to let their mothers know where they are and when they need to be fed. The soothing purrs also help them bond with their mother and their littermates. And that bonding extends to cat kids and cat parents. A purring cat can calm a person’s nervous system, which can help reduce stress and anxiety, boosting your health and your shared bond at the same time.

Cats purr to communicate

Why do cats purr when they’re happy? Why do cats purr when you pet them? And why do cats purr when you hold them?

“Most of the time purring occurs when cats are happy or content,” shares Dr. Jamie Studtman, a veterinarian at Morris Animal Hospital in Granger, Ind. That soundtrack of purrs could accompany your cat kid lounging in the cat tree or snuggling with you on the couch. When they’re feeling good, they often purr to communicate their contentment.

If you’re wondering, “Why do cats meow and purr at the same time?” They may be telling you they’re hungry. According to New Scientist, cats can purr more urgently — and with meows — to trigger nurturing instincts in their cat parents. If your cat kid is pacing the kitchen purring, they may not want a snuggle — they may want a treat.

Cats purr to self-soothe

Do cats purr when stressed? They certainly can. If a cat is anxious or in distress, they may purr to calm themselves. And those purrs can do more than soothe — if the cat is hurt, the vibrations from the purring’s low frequency can help lessen pain, make breathing easier, and even speed up the healing process.

Pro tip:

If your cat kid is experiencing anxiety and it’s affecting their litter box habits, check out our solutions.

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