Sleepy Kitty Happy Kitty, Purr Purr Purr"
My first pet was a white short haired cat named Silver Shadow. She had green eyes and walked on a leash! I taught her tricks like how to jump through my hands laced together, forming a hoop shape. She "spoke" for her food as she sat like a well trained puppy.
Most mysterious was her soft gentle purr. I learned to imitate it! We purred together, Shadow and I.
"She sounds like a little motor."
Cats purr has a frequency like an idling diesel engine, usually between 50-70 Hz, but may range from 18 (Cheetah) to 150 Hz. A true purr alternates inhaling and exhaling. I have seen "fast purr" breathing and "slow purr" breathing from various domestic cats. Some cats are very loud like Tom and Sancat and some are barely audible like Sasha and Mrs. Harris.
Not all cats, great and small, purr. Cheetah, Puma (Cougars), domestic cats, and some small wild cats purr. While lions and tigers roar, they are silent in the purring "category."
How Do Cats Purr and Why?
For many cat owners, the purr imparts a sense of tranquility for people and cats. The cat's purr seems to generate in the diaphragm then rise up to the throat center a short time later. I have seen cats' breathing motions pumping like little bellows previous to the purr motor start up. Our cats seem to meditate while purring, a resting state prior to sleep, a self hypnotic state for deep relaxation. Is she calming herself? Is he healing himself? Are they communicating through good vibrations? What are they saying? Feeling?
My Inner Cat
Recently I worked with my own purring. Purring on the exhale is easy! Purring exhale/inhale is more difficult. I can now do this with my mouth closed, like a cat. I have yet to start the diaphragm generating an audible purr as I purr directly from my vocal chords. I caught a glimpse of what diaphragmatic purring might feel like. As a child, I frequently felt a "purring vibration" across my diaphragm, but no sound from my throat. I did not generate this feeling, it just appeared. Once recently, during a silent meditation, I felt that inner purring again! It felt so good and relaxing. And then it vanished.
Cats purr for a variety of reasons, usually pleasurable stimulation. A Momcact purrs while nursing, a sonic bond. However, some cats purr when ill or in pain or even at the vet in an attempt to calm themselves.
** "It is also speculated that purring can aid bone, tendon, and muscle growth/repair; increase joint mobility; and decrease inflammation."
** According to Bruce Kornreich, DVM, PhD, "...cats...are masters of the solicitation purr. This noise contains a very specialized, variable and complex set of unique low level bursts of sound woven into the cats usual purring speech-among the set of total frequencies available to the species-that cats learn to emit to get their needs met from their parents and cat mates."
I suspect the human cat parent can "read" these special need purrs as well! Food soliciting behavior, "Feed Early and Often," the purring cat turns on the charm.
Blog Search Key Word Cats, Cheetah or Links Tab, Story Index: Animal Magic
*Taylor Swift's Facebook Page, fan's comment July 2014. Taylor Swift, a cat lover, is a singer songwriter, Fearless, 1989 and more albums
** Cat Fancy Magazine Sept 2014, A Cat's Purr by Tomas Mahoney
Bruce Kornreich, DVM, PhD is a board certified doctor of Veterinary Internal Medicine, practicing at the Feline Health Center at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York USA.
How to Speak Cat, The Essential Primer of Cat Language, book by Alexandra Sellers Practice your inner cat and better understand and communicate with your feline.
Wikipedia, Cat's Purr
Song of the Day: Cat's Purr Cd by Chet Day.
Lucy, Chet's cat, lends her purr plus nature sounds and binaural beats to aid in relaxation. You can listen to cat music Cd at very low volume so as not to disturb people and cats.
Dahlis Roy: Visionary Artist, Author, and Tai Chi Instructor
Photos by Dahlis
Mrs. Harris Daydreams Mrs. Harris appears as if in a cat trance.
Mystery Cats, Sasha and Sancat display "eye shine" enabling cats to see in the dark
Sancat in Sunlight waiting for his meal "arriving soon."