It’s a sound that all cat lovers love and associate with our cats and kittens being happy, healthy and content. However, there are many reasons why our feline friends could be purring and they can be communicating a variety of things through their own personal language – and not all of those messages conveyed are positive.
As it turns out, there is such a thing as ‘inappropriate purring’, when a cat may actually be using its form of communication to relax itself in times of distress.
A purr from our little furry friend may actually mean many things from happiness to see their owner to their fear of a thunderstorm or an alert that they are in pain. However, rather than just a cry for help necessarily, the purring can often be used by the cat as a form of self-soothing.
According to Pets4Home, inappropriate purring may confuse pet owners who are wondering why our cats are ‘singing’ during an examination by a vet or when they have a protective cone over their head. A female cat can certainly purr while giving birth to a litter of kittens but this isn’t to identify that she is relaxed or content, it’s to keep herself and her kittens calm and is a very unique self-protective mechanism.
The purring helps the cat be able to block out outside sounds so all they hear is their own sound as a vibration through their bodies as well as aurally. This is why cats may also purr when there is outside stimulus such as loud fireworks.
Cats are also known to soothe themselves when they are ill or of very old age by purring. However, it is very important to remember than inappropriate purring is pretty uncommon and there will more than likely be other signals and symptoms that something is amiss too as well as just the sound that the cat is making.
He or she may be displaying odd behaviors, be more subdued, may start to have accidents around the home or may become aggressive or more vocal. So hearing your kitty purr should remain something to be enjoyed, unless there are other factors at play that could suggest a trip to the vet may be necessary. And while it shouldn’t be a cause for panic, cats CAN use this particular form of purring to warn you of something like an injury or discomfort to a major change in the house that you weren’t aware was distressing them.
If you are in doubt, the vet is the best bet. In the meantime, however, continue to remember that cats will purr to show you affection far more often than they will purr to say something is wrong so while the extra knowledge and vigilance is necessary, don’t let it take away any of the comforts your pet’s purr brings to you both.
If anything, it adds yet another beautiful aspect to the sound we love to hear from our cats. Not only does it bring them joy in some scenarios; in others, it brings them safety and helps them to relax.