We have all heard the most common explanation: cats purr because they are happy. But is this true?
To get to the bottom of the question I did a thorough search on the Internet to try to find a scientific explanation, as well as other alternative explanations. To complete this research we have a live testimony. The blog’s mascot, Mister Cat, confesses to the true reason why cats purr.
The scientific explanation
According to Leslie A. Lyons, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, even though we assume that cats purr to express pleasure, there might be some other explanation. Cats also purr while under stress, like during a visit to the vet or when recovering from injury. Thus, not all purring seems to happen when cats are pleased with their current circumstances. This riddle lead researchers to look further into how cats purr.
The research demonstrated that cats produce the purr through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles. Cats purr during both inhalation and exhalation with a pattern and frequency between 25 and 150 Hertz. Several researchers have shown that this kind of sound frequencies can improve bone density and promote healing:
Because cats have adapted to conserve energy via long periods of rest and sleep, it is possible that purring is a low energy mechanism that stimulates muscles and bones without a lot of energy.” – Scientific American
So, the most plausible explanation is that cat purring is a means of communication and also a potential source of self-healing.
After more searching on the subject, I found out that cats purr for a variety of reasons:
- Contentment, comfort and security;
- Stress and fear;
- Moms purr to welcome their newborn kittens;
- Kittens communicate back to mom and their siblings through purrs;
- Cats purr when they approach other cats, signaling they are friendly and want to come closer.
A Kitty comes clean
Now let’s hear a cat explanation. Enter Mister Cat, the blog’s mascot:
Hi there, fellow humans! So, you want to know why we cats purr? I’ll let you into a secret: purring is our SUPERPOWER to world domination! What human can resist a purring cat? No one. So, we will rule the world, one purr at a time!”
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