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Monday, 29 May 2017


Although purring is commonly associated with cats, other animals make a similar tonal fluttering sound. Other purring animals include badgers, bears, civets, foxes, genets, guinea pigs, hyenas, ring-tailed lemurs, mongooses, raccoons, rabbits and squirrels.

Gorillas purr while eating.

No cat can both purr and roar. Some big cats such as lions and tigers cannot purr, but instead roar.

The snow leopard can purr and also makes a non-aggressive puffing sound called a 'chuff'.

Cats purr as a sign of contentment: when being petted, becoming relaxed or eating.

Domestic cats purr at a frequency of 20 to 30 vibrations per second.

Purring does not necessarily always indicate happiness. Cats also purr when they are frightened or threatened or in pain.  Some scientists believe this purring is a self-soothing and healing mechanism. In humans, the 25 Hz frequency is used in healing wounds.

The mechanism by which cats purr is speculative.  Most scientists think it starts in the brain where a signal is sent to the laryngeal muscles causing them to vibrate. This causes the vocal cords to separate when the cat both inhales and exhales and results in the purr that we hear.

Cats will usually stop purring when they hear water running.  This is a trick used by veterinarians who need the cat to stop purring long enough so they can listen to their heart and lungs.

The record for the loudest purring cat is held by Merlin, a 13-year-old rescue kitty from Torquay, Devon in England. During the filming of the Channel 5 TV show, Cats Make You Laugh Out Loud 2 on April 2, 2015, with a Guinness World Records adjudicator on hand to verify, Merlin registered a purr measuring 67.8 decibels, beating the previous record of 67.68 decibels set in 2011 by Smokey – another British cat.

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