A Guide to Understanding Your Cat

The Purr:

Did you know that cats (both large and small) are the only animals that purr?  A cat’s purr begins in its brain when a neural oscillator sends messages to the laryngeal muscles, causing them to twitch at a rate of 25 to 150 vibrations per second. This causes the vocal cords to separate when the cat inhales and exhales, producing a purr.  Cats can purr both on inhaled and exhaled breaths, with their mouths completely closed.

For kittens (who can’t see or hear), the vibration of their mother’s purring can be felt, acting as a homing device, an indication for them to feed When a cat purrs, it isn’t always out of pleasure; a deep purr can also be an indicator of pain or distress.

Cats’ purrs might be more than just a way to communicate – some scientists believe that cats also purr to heal themselves. Purring isn’t just good for cats though — it’s also healthy for cat owners. Studies show that cats do a better job of relieving stress and lowering blood pressure than other pets. A 10-year study at the University of Minnesota Stroke Center found that cat owners were 40 percent less likely to have heart attacks than non-cat owners — and purring might play a role in that.  Read more here about the healing power of a cats’ purr. 

Up next…the Meow…



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