Why Do Cats Purr?

Ginger cat receiving chin scratches

Nothing can make a cat folk’s heart melt more than when their cat snuggles on their lap and makes that sweet purring sound. The “purr-like” vocalization that cats make is most often noticed in felines when they are happy. But is it safe for cat owners to assume that when their cat purrs, he is in a good mood?’


Does Purring Mean Your Cat is Happy?

Cats are not the most sociable pets out there as they tend to enjoy some alone time, unlike dogs who always want companionship. So, it can be a truly heartwarming moment when cats choose to spend time with you by rubbing against your leg and making that soft purring sound. Felines tend to purr even more when they are stroked and are in a relaxed environment, such as nursing their young and taking a nap.

This leads humans to associate purring with waves of calmness radiating from cats. However, while it’s true that cats purr when they feel happy, cats also purr to communicate other emotions they have. If your cat purrs when you pick him up, for example, it could mean either of the two thingsā€”he is pleased, or he is nervous. Simply put, a cat’s purr could mean anything.

Possible Reasons Why Cats Purr

While there is no way to exactly pinpoint what cats mean when they purr, you can make an informed guess based on the possible reasons experts believe are behind a cat’s purr:

They are hungry.

Most cats purr when it’s mealtime, and experts say that the purr they make when they are hungry is actually different from when they need something else so that even non-cat owners can tell the difference.


They are communicating with their young.

Mother cats and kittens bond through purring. It is almost the equivalent of a lullaby among humans.

They are seeking relief and healing.

Purring is a cat’s way of soothing itself after getting hurt. Experts liken this phenomenon to human babies sucking their thumbs to feel better.

The takeaway is that cats purr for different reasons, and mindful cat owners should take time to learn the difference between each purr. Who knows, decoding your cat’s purrs might just strengthen your bond as it helps build communication between you.

Ginger cat receiving chin scratches