HomeSoundspurringWhat is physically happening inside a cat when he purrs? Does the cat choose when to purr?

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What is physically happening inside a cat when he purrs? Does the cat choose when to purr? — 4 Comments

  1. IMHO, it depends on the cat. My Maine Coon normally trills, but when she can’t find her soft mouse toy, her trill is at a much higher octave with an urgent sound to it. She settles right down when she finds her little toy and her sounds resemble a lower, barely audible purr. When she’s hungry, she just taps me and then meows rather loudly to make her request understood. (Reminds me of Simon’s Cat, lol.)

    My Chartreux usually squeaks when he wants something, like when he’s hungry. Again, it’s a higher pitched sound; otherwise, he’s pretty quiet. He’s also an affection junkie and a head bunter, so when he wants attention, he begins with the head bunting and when stroked, settles down to a very low pitched purr of contentment. Should you stop petting him before he’s ready, he grabs your arm/hand with that frantic higher pitched sound. Pretty funny.

  2. Yes, I haven’t heard it a lot but cats seem to purr to self sooth when they are in pain or extremely distressed.

    I’d believe that if we could see in there somehow, we’d see a flatter portion of the wind pipe where by virtue of a slight tightening at that portion, the walls of their pipe ripple and bang into the opposing side like say, a flattened water hose. That would explain why it would easily flutter with air moving in both directions, too. That kind of thing is something that happens to us too, when we feel excited or distressed (public speaking, or when we tell a lie) and our throat tightens, huh? Cats simply developed the noise using that natural reaction.

    I’ve also heard the high pitched purring referred to as “trilling”. It’s so adorable, if I may say.

    • It’s weird that with modern science we haven’t yet figured out how cats purr. It’s probably because there hasn’t been much interest in it, like so many things about cats, the information has come slowly.

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