How much purring is too much purring?

By Nadine Oraby | 2020 Update

Did your cat just purr again? Has it been doing it too much lately?

You must be thinking, how much purring is too much purring?

The answer is

Purring is cat language and they communicate with it. There is not really an upper limit for a healthy cat purring. Unless there is some drooling, irregular behavior, breathing issues or bad breath, we can say that the cat is healthy. Although a cat’s purr does not always mean it is happy. It may be telling you something else.

Well, to get a clearer picture of a cat’s purring, you will have to read ahead.

How do cats purr?

To get a better understanding of your cat’s purring behavior, we should know about how it purrs, so that we don’t get worried over small issues.

I am sure you must like it when you walk into the room and gently stroke your little furry friend’s hair and it starts to purr. You feel that your cat is actually enjoying it and so are you, unfortunately it keeps purring and now it is bothering you.

Well, let me make something clear. The purring act differs from breed to breed. While some cats purr too much, the others not so much. Some may purr so loud that it seems like a car engine just turned on, while others may purr so softly that you will have to hold it close to your ear to even hear it.

Where the purring sound comes from

So how do they really purr? Let me explain it to you in the most basic terms and words:

  • The purring sound is made while the cat just normally breathes
  • It starts off from the cat’s brain cells which sends signals
  • These signals cause the muscles to move
  • Both the muscles in the voice box and diaphragm move at the same time
  • These muscles move at a speed of 20-30 times per second

So when your cat breathes and inhales air, the air hits the voice box and the muscles causing them to make a purring sound. I am sure you would be amazed regarding how much things are involved in this little purr sound because I was too.

To add a little more information, it is not just the domestic cats that purr. But this purring is also done by bobcats, pumas, cheetahs, and many other cat family members as well.

One more point to add would be that normally, cats do not really purr for long continuous periods. They will take breaks in between and then continue purring again.

Why do cats purr?

While writing this heading, I discovered something funny. It’s not just you who does not understand the purring, but scientists are also unaware of this phenomenon.

Even though they are not completely sure, they have still figured out a few reasons why cats actually purr. So I am going to list them down right here for you to analyse whether your cat needs to go for a vet’s visit or its just fine and purring for no serious reason.

Happy & Satisfied

You must have noticed that dogs start to wag their tales when they are happy and excited. Similarly, when a cat gets happy, it starts to purr. But you have to make sure that it’s happy and not sick. And for that, you will have to check a few things like:

  • Signs of any breathing issues
  • Acting abnormally or not
  • Having a congested voice
  • History of diseases or illnesses
  • Suffering from bad breath
  • Excessive drooling

These are the few things that will help you ensure that your cat is healthy. And if you still think it’s purring too much, do not stress on it. It is most certainly purring to tell you that “I feel so comfortable and secure with you” or maybe “Hey! I like being around you”.

Bonding

You know how a mother and child understand each other without talking and using words? How a child makes noises or moves and the mother understands what the baby wants? Exactly like that, a kitten purrs when it wants to talk to its mother.

See, when a kitten is born, the first thing it hears is the purring of its mother. And since they are blind at birth and obviously cannot see around, they purr to communicate to their mother that “Mama I’m here” or “Mama I’m safe” or something to communicate that they are near her and are happy and healthy.

Seeking attention

Have you been too busy lately? Maybe this is why your cat is purring because it needs you to look at it and pay attention. Not just cats, rather every pet wants the attention of their owner. Therefore, if your cat has been purring too much, it just wants you to stop working and scratch it or play with it for a while.

Just like humans, cats need attention as well, so make sure you are maintaining a balance between work and play.

Healing

Yes. Believe it or not, when a cat purrs, it heals itself. When your cat is:

  • Sick
  • Injured
  • Been through a surgery
  • Going through an allergy

Or any situation where your cat is weak, they purr to heal themself from the inside. See, when a cat is purring, it is releasing endorphins in its body that helps in building up muscles and easing and numbing out the pain. Even though purring takes up a lot of cat’s energy, it most certainly helps it heal. In fact, scientists say that cats heal faster than animals who do not purr.

Illness

Well, not every purr means something good. Although, cats are very good at hiding and misleading their owners, the sign of a cat purring can also mean that cat is suffering an illness. When a cat gets sick, it tends to purr as you read earlier that a cat purring may mean it is healing itself from inside.

But remember, a cat also purrs before it leaves for its final destination. So, I would suggest, that you should really keep an eye out for any kind of illness or symptoms that say your cat is sick. Because purring cannot always be good and might be signalling some unfortunate outcome.  

Related questions

Is loud purring normal?

Some cats purr a little louder than the others. If your cat does not generally purr loud, it may be purring because it is happy, relaxed and content with you and just wants to tell you how happy it is. If your cat does not purr loudly normally and has some symptoms of other illnesses, then it may be a sign of your cat not being healthy and rather feeling pain.

Do cats know when you are sad?

In most cases, it has been seen that the cats will understand if the owner is sad. They will start to sit around and cuddle with you more than normal if they sense that you’re feeling low or down. 

Why do cats purr and then bite you?

Cats will purr and then bite because of stimulation. When they feel that your cuddling and caressing is going overboard, chances are that they will purr a few times. And if the owner does not get the hint from that, they may bite you gently.

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