Why do Cats Purr?

People love the sound of a cats purr, but the soothing sound is still not very well understood. You probably think a purring cat is a happy cat, but this explanation doesn’t cover all the bases. Cats purr not only when they are happy but also when they are stressed-for instance at the veterinarian’s office. Think of the purr as the cat’s equivalent of our smile, indicating no hostile intent is meant.

The sound a cat makes is caused by vibrating muscles surrounding the larynx. Researchers have also discovered where the purr originates: in the brain. Stimulation of a specific area in the cats brain causes cats to begin purring.

The purr is one of the first sounds newborn kittens make, no doubt as they snuggle up to their mother for nursing and warmth. As they mature, their purr becomes more complex. While young cats purr in monotone, adults are capable of reaching two or three notes and sometimes as many as five. Purring can go on for hours without a break, even while a cat is eating or sleeping. It has been suggested that purring is nothing more than a form of snore. We at Pet Sitters Club take it to be the ultimate compliment when we have a cat sitting in our lap purring away while their owners are on vacation!!