Why Do Cats Purr When You Stroke Them?

We get a warm fuzzy feeling that the cat is contented, happy, at peace, and most importantly likes us. But is that all the purr means?

Why Do Cats Purr When You Stroke Them?

When a cat purrs they are communicating something to us. Some of these may be “play with me”, “feed me”, “I’ve found you YAY”, “hold me”, “oohh yeah I like it when you stroke me like that” and “do you like the present I just brought in for you – I am so proud of myself”. These are quite self-explanatory so let’s look at some other theories. There are a number of theories suggesting what this communication is actually all about: happiness, affection, healing/therapy, reassurance, fear/ anxiety and passivity.

Happiness

These are the basic theories all cat owners know. Basically they deal with the areas of contentment of finding a nice warm cozy spot to lay down in, a good feed, and love gifts offered.

Affection

These are related to the happiness purr but may be viewed as more personally oriented towards their favourite person. Basically this one says “I love you”.

Healing/therapy

This is seen as the most scientific explanation. The frequency of a cat purr lies between 25Hz – 150Hz. So what? I hear you say. Well, it has been scientifically shown that these low levels actually perform curative, healing properties affecting the cat’s physiology. It can act like a sedative as long as the pain is not too intense. Bone density can be improved. Sometimes they purr while dying. Sometimes it can just be a form of relaxation therapy they perform on themselves.

Further to this, it is a fact that cat owners have lower blood pressure. What perfect therapy for us humans to relax and unwind at the end of the day!

Reassurance

Vibrations of a mother cats purr reassures her kittens and helps them find her while they are still unable to see. This also works for the cat itself if it is anxious or ill. Purring is associated with nicer experiences for the cat so it helps him/her calm down.

We are also recipients of such reassurance. Have you noticed if you are upset how your cat will come to you and purr? Basically he/she is saying “I’m here for you”!

Fear/anxiety/passivity

All animals display an “I’m no threat to you” vibe or posture. Cats are no different. Visits to the vet may make your cat nervous. By purring your cat is trying to avoid being hurt. Sometimes when they have been hurt by a predator they may also purr to let them know they do not want to be hurt anymore.

So did you know all these forms of communication were going on from your cat’s simple little purr? Hopefully now that you know there are many reasons you will become more attuned to your cat’s purr improving not only his/her life but yours as well.

And just as a passing thought go cuddle up to a cat and see if you can benefit from its healing properties to alter your mood or relax your muscles.