We all are familiar with a cat's purr
- it sounds very pleasing, but are there reasons behind why do they
do it? Research says that cats generally purr when they are in a
good mood or content. It is a method of expressing
their feelings. The purr is a soft, continuous hum
and is not connected to the cat's real voice.
A purr can also
be the mother cat's way of calling her kittens for
feeding - in a soothing manner. At the time of birth,
like all other babies of other species, the kitten's sense
organs are not completely developed; the eyes are
generally shut and they can neither hear nor smell. So
purring becomes a method of communication
between the mother and child; the kitten can feel safe and
comfortable whenever it hears the purring sound. But it is also
seen that once the kittens start feeding, the mother stops
purring, so it acts as a type of homing device
- something to tell the kittens where their mom is.
How does a cat purr?
Just as we humans make sounds when air vibrates within the
voice box, similarly, when the cat takes in a deep breath, and the
air passes through the voice-box, containing the vocal cords. As we
can choose when to speak or sing or make sounds, the cat too can
decide when it wants to purr. When is a pleasant mood, it
will allow the vocal cords to vibrate as the air moves through
(during breathing) which causes the purring sound and in other
situations, the vocal cords remain unaffected by the passing air.
When compared to its other relatives - the
lion, leopard, cougar, ocelot, lynx - who are all
part of the cat family, the normal cat has a very different throat
structure, which is why they cannot purr. It a one characteristic
that makes the cat different from the other family
So the next time you hear a cat purring, you will know that
he or she is in a good mood and that might be a good time to make
friends and play around with it!