Have you ever wondered why cats purr?
You are not alone. This question led to multiple studies to figure out why certain feline species purr.
While all species of cats cannot purr, the ones that can use it to communicate and to heal. Cheetahs, domestic cats, and even guinea pigs can purr. Domestic cats purr more than they meow, hiss or chirp – so find out what it means.
Cats are complex animals that are unique in how they communicate. After decades of research, scientists believe they know why cats purr.
Is purring a sign of happiness?
Fluffy often purrs when you pet her, so you assume it is a sign of happiness. While it can be, there are other emotions expressed through purring. Some have compared purring to laughter in humans. People laugh when they are happy, but also when they are nervous.
Cats purr when they are happy, nervous, want something and to communicate with their young. The way to tell the difference between happiness and fear is by their body language. If your cat’s tail is swooshing then they are probably not happy.
Researchers found that cats will purr and cry at the same time to imitate a crying baby to capture the attention of their humans. “Cats apparently learn to do this to get people to feed them sooner,” said veterinarian Benjamin L. Hart. Cats are intelligent and have figured out how to get what they want by appealing to our nurturing instincts. Well played, cats.
Cats often purr when they are distressed, so you may hear them purring at the vet or when recovering from an injury. Purring is not only a means of communication but a way of healing.
What does it mean when a cat is purring?
So how do cats purr? Scientific American states, “Scientists have demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a consistent pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz.”
Scientists have studied the frequencies of purring and concluded that it can help improve bone density and promote healing. The 24-140 vibrations per minute help repair tendons, heal wounds, ease breathing and lessen pain. Humans can also benefit from their cat’s purring.
Fluffy can help you relax and strengthen your bones by curling up in your lap and softly purring. The vibrations also help lower blood pressure and a study at the University of Minnesota Stroke Center found that “cat owners are 40 percent less likely to have heart attacks than non-cat owners.”
Scientists believe that a cat’s ability to heal through purring has led to the nine lives myth. Cats can fall from extreme heights and manage to land on their feet unscathed. The secret is their lightning-fast reflexes, incredible dexterity and flexible spine. Not to mention, the built in self-healing purr.
Why do cats knead and purr?
If you own a cat then you have witnessed the feline “making biscuits” and purring at the same time. Cats knead with their front paws and is thought to be a sign of happiness. Live Science states that multiple hypotheses exist for why cats knead – ranging from leftover behavior from nursing to claiming an area by leaving their scent. Cats have scent glands in their paws and kneading a pillow or their human allows them to stake claim.
How do you know if your cat loves you?
Cats are fascinating animals that provide us with unconditional love and endless entertainment. If you have ever wondered if your cat loves you (apart from feeding time), just look for the slow blink, also called “kitty kisses”. Cats will stare and then slowly blink to show they trust and adore you. Although, your cat may seem aloof at times and not come when called – just remember that they do love you in their own way.
If you are looking for a purrfect companion and a way to possibly halt osteoporosis, adopt a cat!
Andrea Powell is an animal enthusiast that resides in West Michigan. When not writing, she is exploring the great outdoors with her dogs and horses.
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