Kittens start purring as early as a few days old, usually when nursing or being close to their mom. The vibrations from purring are the first form of communication between kittens and their mother, as the babies are still deaf and blind. The mom (queen) will often purr as early as the first stage of labor. Cats have the unique ability to purr, allowing a low vibrating sound that indicates they are content and relaxed. Purring can also indicate the cat is seeking comfort or trying to soothe itself. Behaviorally, they have a wide range of purrs depending on the individual.
Cats purr for various reasons, including:
- Happy: Cats often purr when they are feeling relaxed and content. It is a way for them to express their happiness and satisfaction.
- To communicate: Cats also use purring as a means of communication. They may purr to communicate with their owners or other cats, signaling that they are friendly and approachable.
- To bond: Purring can be a way for cats to bond with their guardians. When cats purr while being petted or cuddled, it can create a sense of closeness and strengthen the bond between the cat and its guardian.
- Stress relief: Cats may also purr as a way to relieve stress and anxiety. The act of purring can have a calming effect on both the cat and its owner, helping to reduce stress levels. Overall, purring is a complex behavior that serves multiple purposes for cats. It is a way for them to express their emotions, communicate with others, and promote their well-being.
- Healing: Purring has been found to have healing properties. The vibrations produced by purring can help cats heal from injuries or illnesses. It is believed that the frequency of the vibrations can promote the healing of bones and tissues.
Important note: It has been observed that cats can often meow or have a distressful cry between purring, which can be a telltale sign they are usually in need of something. This can indicate they are in pain, anxious, or sick, and a veterinarian checkup may be in order.
Fun fact! Studies have indicated that the frequency of a cat’s purr holds therapeutic properties for humans. More precisely, the vibrations produced by a cat’s purr have demonstrated the ability to decrease our blood pressure, alleviate stress, and even aid in the process of healing.
Article by Krista Schulte
I am a fear-free, force-free, and positive reinforcement Cat Trainer and Behaviour Specialist in Canada. I volunteer in shelters and work on feline enrichment and socialization, and behaviour modification for TLC cases. I threw myself into the Cat Behaviour community and began a path of rigour study, gaining various certificates to attain this goal and will always continue my education. After helping get cats out of the shelters, I transitioned to a Behaviour Counsellor with Toronto Cat Rescue (still with them) to keep cats from going back to the shelter. I am passionate about these cats and their welfare.