Why Cats Purr – It’s Not What You Think

It is commonly believed that cats purr when they are content. However, cats also purr when they are severely injured, frightened, or giving birth. So, if cats were purring solely out of happiness they would not purr when injured, especially as the generation of the purr requires energy, and an injured animal will generally not expend precious energy needed for healing on an activity not directly connected with their survival. Since the purr has lasted through hundreds of generations of cats, there must be a survival mechanism behind its continued existence.

A kitten can purr by the second day of life. He can’t meow and nurse at the same time but can purr and nurse and the mother cat will often purr back, probably to reassure the kitty. There are many theories to explain how the purr is generated. One study determined that purring involves activation of nerves within the voice box. These nerve signals cause vibration of the vocal cords while the diaphragm serves as a piston pump, pushing air in and out of the vibrating cords, thus creating a musical hum. Domestic cats and some wild cats, like pumas and mountain lions (almost any big cat that cannot roar), are all able to purr.

A scientific research study recorded the purrs of five species of cats – cheetah, puma, serval, ocelot and the domestic cat. The purring of the subject cats was recorded to be at a frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Medical investigators have shown that sound frequencies in this range can improve bone density and promote healing in humans as well as other animals. The durability of the cat has facilitated the notion that cats have “nine lives.” Purring may provide a basis for this feline mythology. Cats do not display as many muscle and bone abnormalities as their more strongly selected carnivore relative, the domestic dog. Perhaps cats’ purring helps alleviate the dysplasia or osteoporotic conditions that are more common in their canid cousins.

After a day or night of hunting, purring could be likened to an internal vibrational therapeutic system, a sort of “kitty massage” that would keep muscles and ligaments in prime condition and less prone to injury. Additionally, the purr could strengthen bone, and prevent osteodiseases. Following injury, the purr vibrations would help heal the wound or bone associated with the injury reduce swelling and provide a measure of pain relief during the healing process. Cats are often used as “therapy animals” in convalescent hospitals, or in retirement residences. It is an accepted fact that cat owners have lower blood pressure, especially in older people.

Provided by Julie Corsi

What Is A True Cat?

A true cat…. purrs only to please itself.

A true cat will endure discomfort for hours and wait patiently until 3 A.M. to cough up a hairball on your bed.

A true cat always comes between you and your newspaper.

A true cat has a Houdini-like repertoire of ways to slip out of a collar and dozens of places to hide it where you’ll never find it again.

A true cat would rather eat what you’re having, even it what you fixed for him is better that what you fixed for yourself.

A true cat knows his name but will never acknowledge it.

A true cat likes to roll around in the dirt, especially if she’s just had a shampoo. That’s because true cats prefer to do their own grooming.

A true cat enjoys catching, tormenting, and killing small furry creatures and leaving them as gifts for their owner especially if their owner is a vegetarian.

True cats prefer to eat from the same china you use, not out of cute bowls with “Kitty” or “Tuna Breath” written on the sides.

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