It’s one of the most beautiful and most relaxing sounds and we all associate a cat’s purr with our pet’s happiness and contentment.
However, did you know that there is such a thing as ‘inappropriate purring’, where a cat may actually be using this form of communication to relax itself in times of distress?
Much like with our own language, cats can be actually communicating a variety of things through purring from its happiness to see its owner to a fear of a thunderstorm to an alert that it is in pain. However, rather than just a cry for help necessarily, the purring is often used by the cat as a way of soothing itself.
According to Pets4Home, inappropriate purring can greatly confuse pet owners who are wondering why their cats are ‘singing’ during an examination by a vet or when they have a protective cone over their head. A female cat might 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 both herself and her kittens calm and is a unique self protective mechanism.
The purring also helps the cat to block out outside sounds so that all they hear is their own sound as a vibration through their bodies as well as aurally. This is why cats may purr when there are outside disturbances such as loud fireworks.
Cats will also soothe themselves when they are feeling ill or if they are very old. However, it is very important to remember than inappropriate purring is pretty uncommon and there will more than likely be other signs and symptoms indicating something is wrong.
He or she may display other odd behaviors, be more subdued, may start to have accidents around the home or possibly even become aggressive or more vocal. So hearing your cat purr should remain something to enjoy, unless there are other factors coming into 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 form of purring to warn you of something else like an injury or discomfort to a major change in the house that you weren’t aware was distressing them.
If and when in doubt, the vet is the best bet. But in the meantime, continue to remember that cats will purr to show you affection far more often than they will purr to tell you that something is wrong so while the extra knowledge and vigilance is necessary, don’t let it take away any of the comfort your pet’s purr brings to you both.
If anything, it adds another beautiful aspect to one of our favorite sounds in the world. Not only does it bring them joy in some scenarios; in others it help then feel safe so that they can relax.