“Why Do Cats Purr?” OUR FELINE FRIENDS OFFER LOTS TO EXPLORE – FURRY COMPANIONSHIP AND SO MUCH MORE! LET’S GET CURIOUS ABOUT CATS!
I remember the first time I heard a cat purr.
I had read of the phenomenon before I’d experienced it; we had no cat in the house when I was small. The children’s literature I was exposed to was seemingly filled with endless depictions of little girls with names like “Polly,” Snuggled up next to fireplaces with embroidery hoops and purring kittens in their laps. Kittens in cartoons purred and snuggled in to sleep on the back of bulldogs’ backs. The prevailing message was clear – kttens are content and drowsy when purring.
Cats purr …when?!
The reality proved to be altogether different! My first memorable encounter with a purring cat happened while visiting relatives in the southern/Appalachian region of the United States. When kitty approached, he weaved himself in and out of our legs in eager anticipation of our stroking hands, already a’rumbling – just like the engine of the moped my daddy had just let us drive up’n down the dirt roads of that old farmhouse.
The sound was so unusual, why, I didn’t even recognize the sound as “purring!” I’m not sure what I expected, but this noise sounded as though kitty had inhaled a handful of peppercorns and was trying to breathe around them. Also, as earlier noted – I had always envisioned a cat’s purr to be something one detected only after a kitty had determined to curled up into your lap (or onto your back!) to sleep.
But, cats purr frequently, not just when drowsy.
Cats purr to communicate
The secret to understanding why cats purr is to understand that cats are trying to communicate to you with the purring. Often, the message is simply delight – you are there, and you are a friendly presence. Whether this is because you are a source of food or because your cat genuinely prefers your company to loneliness is a question only you can answer!
Sometimes, the meaning of a cat’s purr is “I’m hungry.” Yes – a cat’s purr can mean something supposedly “negative,” such as the cat being in a state of hunger. Again, though, the cat’s response is positive, as its source of its food source has returned.
We will never know why some cats purr…
Unless science evolves to the degree where we can actually talk to our pets a la “Doctor Doolittle,” we are left with only clues to what our feline friends are trying to communicate to us. Thankfully, they give us plenty of joy and comfort, and lots of reasons to smile, no matter their reason for purring!