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Why do cats purr?

Why do cats purr? Why do cats purr?

The bottom line is there is not one reason cats purr. There are many reasons for a purr. Reasons for a purr are not always positive.  If you were to look online or check a well stocked library on the subject, you would be surprised to find there is little on the subject at all. Here is some of what we do know about the purr and why cats do it.

The definition of a cats purr is simply a low continuous vibratory sound usually expressing contentment. The reality is cats can purr for a variety of reasons. We know they will purr if they are happy and content but did you know they will purr if they are nervous, scared or sick? There is research suggesting that purring has healing qualities to it. That cats purr when they are sick and injured because it helps them heal and get better faster. This research also suggests that purring can heal bones and wounds, build muscle and repair tendons, ease breathing and decrease pain and swelling.

Purring is sound produced as a part of communication and self healing. The mother cat and kittens using purring as a form of communicating before the eyes of the kittens are open. The mother will also purr to sooth the kittens.

Did you know other animals purr??? Other animals that purr include cougars, gorillas, raccoons and even elephants!

So while we know cats and kittens can purr to communicate and will purr when happy and content perhaps we didn’t realize they will do this in times of pain and distress. Although there is minimal research on the purr I am sure it will continue to be a topic of great debate.

The next time you hear your cat purring you may wonder what they are feeling or expressing.

To read more about this visit this link: http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/catspurr.html

Theresa N. Klales

The Standard of Veterinary Excellence

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