Sunny Side Up

Gratitude & Happiness

Purrrfect Purrsuasion.

on April 18, 2015

P is for Purring.

Yes, I’ll admit I wanted a reason to include my three cats in a post and “P” provided the purrrfect topic. Meet Cannonball ( R.I.P. 1998 – 2013.,) Star, and Squeaky!

Cannon - staring! B-Wcopy - Version 2  Star close up copy - Version 2  Squeaky Attitude copy - Version 2

If you are a pet owner I don’t think I need to explain how they each have their own unique purrrsonality – Cannonball was a baby and a bit of a loner, Star is a spoiled princess and Squeaky has wild cat in him. In return for your care and affection, they offer unconditional love and comfort. Blessed with many years of joy from these three, one of the things I love best about them is cuddle time and purring. There is something so soothing in that sound. 🙂

Thankfully, however, mine do not sound like this:

This is Smokey. She has a record for a purr at 67.7 decibels, but is known to have purred up to 92.7 decibels, equivalent to a lawnmower or hairdryer. Wow!

Why do they make that wonderful sound?

  • Most obviously, when they are happy. Purring releases endorphins.
  • They are hungry or want something. The purr will often be combined with a cry or mew.
  • As a kitten and mother connection. The babies will purr during suckling to let mom know they are okay, and mom will use it as a lullaby. Purring is also done for survival, instead of crying or meowing which could lure predators.
  • If they feel frightened or threatened, they will purr to calm themselves.
  • Good vibrations. Cats can purr between 24 – 140 vibrations a minute which is thought to be beneficial for bone growth, pain and wound healing. This is also good for their human friends as it relieves stress, lowers blood pressure and reduces heart attacks by 40%. (University of Minnesota Study, mnn.com)

What is it that causes that vibrating sound?

It is a combination of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles working together with a neural oscillator in the brain that signals when to purr.

Not all cats are able to purr, only domestic, some wild and relative cats. Cheetahs and cougars are the large cats that do purr. Cats that purr are not able to roar. Those that roar are not able to purr because the structures surrounding their larynxes are not stiff enough to allow it.

Here is a better explanation:

Believe it or not! Other animals that purr: elephants, hyena, guinea pigs, gorilla, lemur, mongoose, rabbit, racoon, and tapirs. Cats purrs are unique, however, because it is done while inhaling and exhaling.

Sources:

http://pets.webmd.com/why-do-cats-purr
http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/why-do-cats-purr
http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/why-do-cats-purr-cat-behavior-health-evolution
http://www.livescience.com/40377-why-do-cats-purr.html

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