A lot of what we “know” about cats is actually just speculation from researchers, vets and other cat experts. Cats can’t talk to us so there’s no way to really know what does it mean when a cat purrs but we do have a list of suspected reasons. Here are some reasons why your cat may be purring and what it could mean.

What is purring?

The sound occurs when cats vibrate their vocal chords much like humans when we talk. It is a low, continuous vibration that sounds like a motor running quietly.


The purr is most commonly associated with the idea of a cat signaling contentment. Cats may be purring from contentment when they are curled up in your lap, sunbathing or exhibiting a general sense of calm.


Research has shown that cats emit a different kind of purr when they are hungry. It’s a higher pitched purr. If the cat is rubbing up against you purring while you are preparing their food bowl, they are signaling they are hungry.


Baby kittens use the purr sound to indicate their status to their mother. Momma cats will also use their purr as a sort of lullaby to lull her babies to sleep.


Cats may sometimes purr when they are uncomfortable or injured. Think of it as their security blanket. The constant vibration is a way for the cat to soothe and calm itself. It also helps regulate breathing and stimulate healing.

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