The Secret Meaning Behind Your Cat's Purr

The Secret Meaning Behind Your Cat’s Purr

If you’ve ever heard your cat purr, then you know it’s hard to resist the urge to go over and pet the little guy or gal. But when we look into why cats purr, it can tell us quite a bit about their mood, what they’re feeling and what they need from us. Here are five facts about purring that you probably didn’t know!


Cats are affectionate animals. They like to spend time with their owners and will do so with a few extra perks if they’re happy, but did you know that cats purr for other reasons? Cats can make this rumbling sound when they are distressed, afraid, or in pain. Plus, on the other hand, cats can purr when they’re happy too! It’s no wonder why many of us assume that cats are always blissfully happy because of their constant purrs.

How the purring sound was discovered

It was 1931 when a zoologist named Malcolm Dixon first discovered the purring sound of the cat. One day while on safari, he witnessed a cheetah chase down a gazelle only to stop immediately after making the kill. As he drew closer, Dixon heard what sounded like an engine idling nearby and followed the noise until he found it – a cheetah licking his kitten. Despite how quiet this sound is, Dixon could hear it from 50 feet away through all the noise of the forest.

Who does your cat purr too?

Your cat is a unique, intelligent being that doesn’t necessarily purr when they’re happy. Cats purr to show how content they are or as a sign of submission, like during your petting session. If your cat is at the vet and it starts purring, this may mean they’re scared of whatever is happening. This post has made me look at my cats in a whole new light!

While scientists aren’t certain what causes cats to purr, there are a few theories. The first is that purring is involuntary, similar to how humans can’t control their body functions like breathing and blinking. This may be because cat owners typically try to encourage their pets to purr by petting them. They feel at ease when being petted, so they start purring as a response. Another theory suggests that cats can voluntarily control their purrs when they’re trying to show submission or gain a positive reaction from another animal. You might notice your cat initiating a friendly vocalization if it sees you but doesn’t have any food on hand—like saying I love you with sounds instead of words!

What is purring for?

In reality, purring is a form of communication. Cats will purr when they are content, scared, or in pain. They might also do it to entice their human family to play with them. A cat might also purr when nursing its kittens as it is a way for the mother cat to soothe her babies as well as offer encouragement for her offspring to eat.

Cats often purr when they sleep. However, studies have shown that even if you wake up a sleeping cat, it can resume purring within moments of regaining consciousness. If your cat doesn’t purr when sleeping and does so often, you should take your pet to see a veterinarian as soon as possible. It could be a sign of illness or disease. Other reasons for cats to stop purring are due to dental problems, throat issues, or heart disease such as hyperthyroidism.

Where does the purring sound come from?

Kittens usually learn to purr from their mothers, who start them out while they’re nursing. But cats of any age can learn how to purr. The sound comes from the vibration of the cat’s vocal cords and is produced as a signal of contentment or friendliness. In general, most people agree that a cat’s purring indicates contentment. Some theorize that the reason behind cats’ purring is due to the way their larynx feels when it contracts and pushes air out of their lungs and into the atmosphere in bursts–similar to how dogs pant when they are hot or excited!


Cats have always been known to be intelligent animals and their purring is a great way for them to communicate with people. So while they may not be actively trying to tell you they’re happy, they are trying to show that they care about you and want your companionship. But the truth is, it could also mean any number of things from contentment, sadness, warning others, or even just a way for them to reassure themselves. The main thing we should take away from it though is that cats love being around us just as much as we love being around them.

Also Read: The 8 Best Indoor Security Cameras to Keep Your Home Safe

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