Why Do Cats Purr?

Anyone who owns a cat, or, let’s be honest, almost everyone – period, knows that cats purr when they’re happy. We’ve mentioned a fun fact about cats’ purring in the 15 Unbelievable Facts About Cats article, but now it is the time to expand on that.

First of all, cats purr by using their larynx and diaphragm muscles, as they inhale and as they exhale. Although how their central nervous systems make them purr, is not properly understood. The frequencies of the purring sounds range between 20Hz and 150Hz. Now, why do they do it?

As mentioned in the article above, cats sometimes purr when sad, angry or injured – not only when they’re happy. And there’s also a lot of different, but important reasons for why they purr. And also, purring is the most common sound that cats make, yet there still are many mysteries that scientists don’t know about it.

Purring produces a sound of particular frequency which creates vibrations that travel cats’ bodies and help them in these ways:

  • Heal bones and wounds
  • Build muscle and repair tendons
  • Ease breathing
  • Lessen pain and swelling
  • Help with bone growth
  • Pain relief

Another possible explanation behind purring is that when kittens are born, they are blind and deaf, for a few first weeks and they purr and make sounds in order to communicate. This form of communication still persists to their older age.

Kittens also purr when they want their mothers to feed them, and this often persists into the old age, so they often purr when hungry.


Although purring is not an entirely understood phenomena there are several clear reasons for why cats purr, including communication, healing, proper breathing, general growing and pain relief. I hope you’ve enjoyed this article, learned something new and have a different outlook on cats!

By the way, here’s another article that goes in depth on why cats purr.

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