Cat Talk: How and Why a Cat Purrs

The How

To begin, there are many different theories competing with one another today explaining how a cat purrs. Some examples being, the vibration of the cat’s false vocal chords when inhaling and exhaling, the sound of blood hitting the aorta, and vibration of the hyoid apparatus, or resonation directly in the lungs. But currently it is widely believed that a cats purring is a result of rhythmic impulses to the cat’s larynx.

The Why

So when your cat produces a purring noise does this automatically indicate that she is happy? Typically this is usually the case, but there can be other reasons for her vocalization as well. Your cats purring can also indicate, although less likely, that she is feeling distressed. Or she simply may even be just trying to calm herself down after being hurt. You may also notice that your cat may purr when she is amongst other cats, for example, a mother cat with her kittens.

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