"A cat purring on your lap is more healing than any drug in the world, as the vibrations you are receiving are of pure love and contentment." – St. Francis of Assisi
Aside from St. Francis’ quote, it’s a common figure of speech to say that people who are immensely satisfied purr like a cat.
If you own a cat and are accustomed to cat purrs, then you must know its magical appeal to cat lovers like us. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when we do hear it, it makes us feel happy too.
Have you ever wondered why cats purr? Read on to find out.
#1. To Say Thank You
Ever noticed how cats tend to purr more whenever they’re on your lap as you snuggle and pamper them? Just as we exhale sighs of contentment, our cats let us know that they’re perfectly cozy, warm, content, and happy by their purring.
Perhaps in cat language, this is their way of saying “thank you” for the snuggles and TLC. The next time you catch your cat purring mid-snuggle, you’ll know that they’re happy right where they are and that you’re being a loving and good cat parent.
#2. To Calm Themselves
This may surprise you, but cats don’t just purr when they’re happy. It can also indicate moments of anxiety, pain, or stress.
You may notice that your cat tends to purr when you visit the vet, during pregnancy, and while birthing kittens. Purring is our cats’ way of soothing and calming themselves in situations they find distressing.
Their purrs are a result of low-frequency vibrations from their diaphragm and larynx muscles while inhaling and exhaling. While we don’t yet fully understand how they produce such sounds, it’s a good idea to stroke your cat or pet them for added reassurance.
Interesting fact: Did you know that purring promotes healing? Coincidentally, the frequency at which cats purr (26 hertz) is the same frequency that scientists use to administer vibration-based therapy to promote tissue regeneration.
This can strengthen bones and add muscles to humans while relieving pain and healing injuries in cats. This is one reason why cats, compared to dogs, recover faster after surgery and have lower health risks.
#3. To Ensure Their Needs Are Met
Another reason our cats purr is to gently coax us into meeting their needs. Perhaps they need their water or food bowl filled or perhaps they just want to cuddle with their favorite person — you.
In any case, if you find your cat purring for no apparent reason, it may be because they want something. This is sometimes referred to as a solicitation purr which sounds like a cross between normal purring and meowing.
Purring: Your Cat’s Way of Communicating That Benefits Us As Well
Indeed, purring is a calming sound not just for our cats but the owners who love them. The benefits of our cats’ purring have been acknowledged. An article by BBC mentions purring calming and pleasing effects for us humans and could even reduce our risks for heart disease and stroke by up to a third.
The more attention you pay to what makes your cat purr, the more you’ll understand how they communicate their needs and love for you while benefitting us as well.