What does it mean when a Cat purrs?

Humans smile, dogs wag their tails, and cats purr. To cat owners, purring is music to their ears, as it shows their feline companion is content and happy.

This isn’t always the case though. While it can be a sign of being content, purring can also have other connotations. If you’ve ever wondered if there’s more to cats purring, then here’s what you need to know.


As you’re probably already aware, if a cat curls up on your lap and starts purring then it’s a sign of content. It’s a nice feeling to know your cat feels safe when snuggled up to you and purrs away. It’s not always this happiness and content that causes your kitty to purr though.

Purring can also be a self-comforting mechanism for cats. It is first expressed when kittens are a few days old, signalling their presence to their mother and encouraging her to feed them.

It can also be an emotional response to signal pain or distress. This is probably why cats are known to purr when giving birth. This again points to a self-comforting mechanism that helps them rest and repair.


It’s not very easy for humans to purr like a cat does without shredding our voice-box. So just how does a feline make a purring noise?

Rapid movement of the muscles in a cats voice-box combines itself with the movement of the diaphragm. They move at about 20 to 30 times a second and when the cat breathes, air touches the vibrating muscles releasing a purring sound.

Each cat has a unique purr, similar to how we have unique voices. Some are fairly high pitched, where others are very low pitched and sound more like a rumble.

Some cats are so quiet that you can’t actually hear them purring unless you go right up to them, where others are like motorbikes and you can’t miss them with how loud they are!

How’s that for a bit of kitty knowledge? If there’s any little bits of information you feel needs adding to this, drop us a comment!

Image credit: Shutterstock

Charity Dog
Dog and cat
Maine Coon Green
Cat and Dog