First of all – What actually is purring?
Cats make a lot of different noises. Meowing, growling, hissing, crying.
The most common vocalisation you will probably hear come from a feline though is purring.
A low, murmuring sound, is how cats express happiness or contentment. How often have you heard a purr as you gently stroke your feline friend?
Research has shown purring occurs when muscles within the cat’s larynx move the vocal cords. As they breathe in and out, air touches the vibrating muscles, producing an unmistakable sound that is thought to be partly voluntary and partly instinctive.
As well as using the soft rumble as a way of communicating, cats will also purr as a form of self-soothing or even healing. This is why you may hear the low frequency murmur when they are injured, or following a stressful incident.
It isn’t always easy to know why a cat is purring. You may hear them making the sound at mealtime when they’re hungry, or it could be because they’re feeling nervous.
Always pay attention to the context of the situation.