Why do cats purr?

There are several reasons for that satisfying sound

When kittens are very young, purring is all about survival. It helps a mother cat to keep track of her litter, and it helps the newborns to find their mum before their eyes are open. But cats keep purring throughout their adult lives; our pets purr when they’re happy, hungry, sick or stressed.

Scientists analysing the different sounds that cats make when they purr are starting to understand what the noises mean. Some evidence suggests that the frequency of normal cat purrs – 25 to150Hz – has a calming and healing effect on the body. This low rumbling might provide our feline friends with some stress relief.

When cats are hungry, the frequency rises to more than 150Hz. This approaches the sound of a baby’s cry, so it’s a sure-fire way to tug at our heartstrings and get us reaching for the cat biscuits.

Image: Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue/flickr