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Cat Behavior

What’s That Loud Purring All About, Anyway?

what does it mean when a cat purrs loudly

What Does This Purring Mean?

Cats purr, and some of them purr a lot. Even though people with cats are used to purring, you might wonder: what does it mean, anyway?

You might also wonder what it means when a cat purrs loudly. All of the sounds that animals make have meaning.

However, purring has more meaning than many owners may realize. A common assumption is that a purr always means a sense of contentment.

Even though this is an easy conclusion to draw, being content is only one possibility among many.

What does it mean when a cat purrs loudly? The cat might be feeling content, or might be trying to comfort itself.

Purring May Mean Different Things

Cats make about six different sounds in their interactions with others. However, purring is their most common sound.

This is also one of their most common ways of communicating with their owners and other household pets.

The sounds that pets make serve the same purpose that speech does for humans. Just as we use different tones or words based on our moods, our animal friends make different sounds depending on their moods and other circumstances.

According to writer and researcher Bridget Coila, cats’ purrs are somewhat complicated and can mean contentment, calming efforts, healing efforts, and even owner manipulation.

Finding out how to identify the different reasons for a cat purring will help you learn what might be behind their behavior at any time. You can keep your cat happy and identify problems a lot more easily.

Why There Are Different Reasons for Purring

Cat behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett has compared cats purring to humans smiling. Just as a smile might not mean happiness, a purr might not mean a content kitty.

Identifying what circumstances are motivating the purring will help you learn why the purring is loud.

An owner who knows what their cat is probably thinking or feeling will be in a better position to take care of their needs.

Cats are good at concealing discomfort, so understanding more about behavior that includes purring is essential.

This video from BrainStuff – How Stuff Works demonstrates why cats can purr and some of the reasons for their purring. You will learn the differences between our cats and their wild relatives.

Understanding the similarities and differences between cats and their wild relatives will give you a greater appreciation of feline behavior.

You’ll understand your cat’s moods a lot more easily and figure out the reasons behind unhappy purring.

What Are Examples of Loud Contented Purring?

Contented purring often happens when their owner pays attention to them, or when a mother cat nurses.

When a cat is obviously happy in his or her surroundings, the purring may increase in volume. A cat that is relaxing in a sunny spot is an example.

According to cat expert Liz Bales, another time cats might purr loudly is when giving birth. Endorphins are released, which help minimize the pain for the mother-to-be.

Having endorphins released helps a cat feel much more relaxed and calm. Because this process occurs with all purring, a cat will be calmer after a good purring session. Cats who purr a lot during handling are usually satisfied with everything.

If your cat appears content, you probably will not need to worry about the volume of their purrs.

Even though cats have a high pain tolerance and often conceal distress, there is a difference between contented purring and purring that occurs with stress.

What About Purring When Stressed?

A cat might purr loudly when trying to calm themselves under severe stress. A loud burst of purring at the vet’s office is an example.

The cat is trying to calm his or her anxiety much as we might in similarly stressful situations or places.

Some cats prefer not being touched or handled very much, but humans who interact with them may not interpret their body language correctly.

A cat that purrs to relieve stress might have louder purrs than usual when picked up or held or even growl.

Mistaking these purrs for purrs of contentment may contribute to your pet’s stress level. A cat that stiffens up and tries to avoid your touch or has purrs that turn into growling is not content.

A cat under a lot of stress might purr loudly to help relieve itself of the tension that it’s feeling. If your cat shows a lot of this type of behavior, it’s important to give them the space they need to overcome stress at their own pace.

Why Do Cats Purr If They’re Sick

Cats who are feeling sick might purr somewhat loudly. Purrs as high as 150Hz have a positive effect on muscle stimulation.

When your cat is purring loudly but not moving around much, they are likely trying to heal themselves from their illness.

You might also notice a cat purring even if he or she has become injured. Under these circumstances, their survival instincts will encourage them to stay quiet.

They will also demonstrate high pain tolerance, appearing less injured than they are.

Purring and Healing

The frequency of loud purring has a role in mending bones because this action helps increase the cat’s bone density.

As a natural predator, this natural healing method helps cats stay in ideal shape for hunting or indoor play inspired by hunting instincts.

An interesting theory that Pet WebMD notes are that the healing effects of purring allow cats to survive serious falls.

Cats’ natural agility that allows for easier landings also helps them out.

Cats also come through surgeries a lot more easily than many other species. Even though they undergo many of the same procedures as dogs, for example, the therapeutic effects of purring can help the healing process go much more smoothly so they are well sooner.

Yes, Cats Purr to Get Attention

According to Dr. Joanne Righetti, purring is something that cats learn to do a few days after birth. When kittens need to nurse, they purr to signal their need to the mother cat.

When a cat has an owner they have a strong bond with, they may use a louder purr to get attention or food.

This type of louder purr has similarities to a baby crying. Early morning is a common time of day for cats to take part in this type of vocalization.

Many believe that cats see their owners as parents, which motivates them to use purring as a means of getting attention.

Hungry cats will also use this method, out of instinct left over from when they were still nursing and purred to demonstrate satisfaction.

This type of purr is known as a soliciting purr. A cat that makes this type of purring sound very loudly may have gotten rewarded for loud behavior through extra attention or food.

Although there is nothing wrong with soliciting purrs in and of themselves, owners may need to learn to balance their cat’s needs with their need for sleep.

Can Loud Purring Be a Major Problem?

Loud purring seldom becomes problematic for owners. However, according to Dr. Nancy Kay loud purring sometimes presents a problem during an exam.

When cats have a loud purr, a veterinarian might have difficulty hearing heart and lung sounds. The vet might need to humanely interrupt the purring by distracting the cat.

Placing fingers over the cat’s nose for a few seconds usually provides a distraction.

Owners whose cats purr to calm themselves might benefit from using calming products on the cat before the visit.

Calming aids will help the cat be less reactive to vets, making any vet trips less stressful for the owner.

Cats Can Purr Loudly and That’s Okay

Knowing the various reasons why some cats have loud purrs is a welcome relief for owners concerned about their pet’s wellbeing.

A cat whose purrs are louder than you may be used to is rarely a problem, but peace of mind is always helpful.

When you understand the reasons for your cat’s loud purring, you can make sure that everything is okay.

Having a happy cat is an important goal for any cat owner, and attention to the reasons your kitty purrs will help you identify any issues.

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