Why do cats purr?

Answer

Purring is a non-verbal communication that originates in the laryngeal muscles stimulated by neuron activity, which causes the muscles in the throat to twitch at 25 to 150 vibrations per second. This vibration results in vocal cord separation and purring.

A researcher in bioacoustics believes that a specific frequency of purring, 25 Hz, induces a type of physical therapy, heals wounds, increases bone density and minimizes muscle atrophy, just as it does in humans at that frequency. Cats are known to reduce stress and blood pressure, and purring may help with that. Behaviorists believe that kitten purring tells the mother that "all is well," because meow communication is limited when nursing, but a mother cat can feel and hear purring and respond in kind.

Contentment is only one reason for purring. Older cats approach other cats and purr as an overature to friendship. Purring is also a response to fear, illness and distress. Veterinarians often struggle to hear a heartbeat or examine lungs with this type of purring. A vet may run water during the exam to halt the purring.

Wild cats, hyenas, guinea pigs and raccoons also purr. Mountain lions and bobcats, for instance, can purr, but cannot roar. Wild cats who roar, such as lions and tigers, cannot purr because the structures surrounding their larynx are not strong enough to support it.

Q&A Related to "Why do cats purr?"
Cats vibrate the muscles in their voice box to purr when they exhale or inhale. Cats usually purr to show they are happy or to express happiness.
http://www.ask.com/web-answers/Science/Nature/why_...
If a cat is feeling emotion, pain or is relaxed, its voice box — the laryngeal muscles — tightens and vibrates when the cat breathes in and out, creating the sound commonly
http://www.ehow.com/info_8765010_do-cats-purr.html
Indications are that cats don't purr only when they are content and happy. They also purr during tense moments, or even through trauma. When suddenly and violently injured, even near
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_do_cats_purr
It is generally believed that cats purr to show contentment, but no one knows for sure. Cats are born with the ability to purr; kittens make the tiny rumbling sounds when they are
http://www.answers.com/topic/why-do-cats-purr
1 Additional Answer
Ask.com Answer for: why do cats purr
Purring is most often associated with contentment or pleasure. Cats have also been found to purr under extreme stress.
If you have concerns about a cat that purrs excessively or not at all, make an appointment with your vet.
Explore this Topic
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Cats may not purr if they are still young kittens. Some cats purrs are so faint and soft that you may not be able to hear them purring. It is nothing to worry ...
The four main big cats, that is the lion, tiger, leopard and jaguar, have specially adapted larynxes which enable them to roar but not purr. The lion is believed ...
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