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Do Cats Purr When Sick – 3 Things To Know

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You walked into your living room only to discover your feline lying helplessly on the ground purring softly. You know cats only purr when they are happy. You begin to wonder, do cats purr when sick?

Cats purr when sick. Purring is a coping strategy for many cats when they are sick. Purring has been found to strengthen cats’ muscles when they are ill. They often lie quietly, maintaining a hunched position while purring.

In this article, we’ll consider the reasons cats purr when they are sick. We’ll also answer frequently asked questions about purring in cats.

Now, let’s discuss three reasons cats purr when they are sick.

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Reasons Cats Purr When They Are Sick

The act of purring in cats has generated a lot of interest in animal behavioral scientists worldwide. 

There seem to be different schools of thought about the reasons cats purr.

Now, let’s consider the five different reasons cats purr when they are sick:

Cats purr to calm themselves

Although cats mostly purr when they are in a relaxed mood and happy mood. Experts have discovered that cats also purr when down with a sickness.

Merely taking a cat to the vet’s office can trigger an act of purring. Cats also purr when in severe pain.

For example, cats purr when giving birth or when something is causing great distress for them.

Furthermore, cats are just likely to purr when in a painful condition as they are when they cuddle up with their owners.

Purring is a low-frequency vibration that cats use to soothe tension and breathing. Not every cat purrs; some purr mildly, and some cats are constantly purring.

Relief and Healing

Some researchers have speculated that purring helps cats to heal faster when sick. Even though purring takes energy, many cats still engage in it when sick.

The act of purring can be compared to the moment a young child sucks his thumb to feel better.

Research suggests that purring can help felines quickly recover from an ailment.

One hypothesis suggests that the frequency at which purring occurs is estimated to range from 20Hz to 150Hz. This frequency range promotes bone healing.

Purring in cats occurs between a frequency of 25-100Hz. According to researchers, bone responds to 25-50Hz, and skin and soft tissues to around 100 Hz.

The healing frequencies in therapeutic medicine match with the frequency at which cats purr.

When cats purr when they are sick, it’s a form of self-repair. The purrs keep their bones and tissues in good condition while they rest.

‘Solicitation purrs’ help your cat ensure their needs are met

Cats purr when they are sick to get the attention of their owners. Cats even do this when they are not sick.

Scientists have been able to identify a different kind of purr in cats known as solicitation purr.

Cats exclusively use this kind of purr to obtain both food and affection. Solicitation is somewhat between a meow and a purr.

The sound is closely related to the sound we hear from a crying newborn baby. A noise that a mother is programmed to respond to.

Do Cats Purr When They Are Dying

Yes. Cats purr as a coping strategy when they are dying to strengthen their muscles and release endorphins.

Although purring is known to mean comfort and pleasure in cats, it is at times more complicated than that.

It is common for a dying cat to be alone, away from every family member during his last days. On the other hand, some cats prefer to be with their loved ones when they are about to die.

No two cats are the same. There have been experiences of cats returning to their favorite beds, blankets, or pillow during their final days to feel comfortable.

Some signs often shown by a dying cat include the following:

  • Not using the litter box
  • Refusing to play
  • Mild purring
  • Lack of appetite

Just like humans, a cat’s death is never easy. When you understand the signs that your cat’s life is nearing the end, this will assist you in making him feel comfortable.

When your cat is sick, and he’s purring, never interpret it to mean that your feline is happy.

The nature of your cat’s purring can tell you a lot about him. Is your cat purring into your laps or all cuddled up with you? It means your cat is happy with you; he’s not in distress.

Why Does My Cat’s Purr Sound Congested

Your cat’s purr sounds congested because there is an obstruction of the nasal passages of the throat.

Typically, a cat’s breathing should be quiet and be done with ease. Any loud and fast breathing can be a sign of different medical conditions.

If your cat’s purr sounds louder than normal, you should understand the reasons behind it and the symptoms to watch out for.

There are two major types of loud breathing in cats, which are:

  • Noisy inhalation
  • Noisy exhalation

Purring falls under noisy inhalation. Noisy inhalation is medically known as stertor. Cats make a low-pitched congested noise when they have trouble inhaling air.

Noisy exhalation is known as stridor; this occurs when a cat generates noise while exhaling. It occurs when there is a form of obstruction of the windpipe.

Some common conditions responsible for loud purring in cats include the following:

  • Asthma
  • Tracheal foreign bodies
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Pulmonary edema (fluid build-up)

When a cat is sick, purring becomes difficult and high-pitched. Contact your vet for proper assessment when you notice your feline is experiencing labor breathing.

Can Cats Control Their Purring

Despite the autonomic responses involved in purring, cats still have conscious control over purring.

Modern evidence suggests that purring in cats is a bit of both voluntary and autonomic control.

Scientists suggest that the neural oscillator found in cats’ brains may be triggered by endorphins when they experience both pleasure and pain.

We can compare purring in cats to blinking in humans. Humans can blink instinctively and also choose to blink when they want to.

Another theory suggested by experts is that cats generate the purring sound by making use of their voice box and diaphragm, the main muscle of breathing.

When the cat breathes in and out, the air hits the larynx muscles and hyoid bone in the throat to produce the sound we understand as purring.

But we know that cats do not simply purr every time they take in air. So this has somehow reduced the efficacy of the above theory.

Experts have not fully understood the theory behind the act of blinking. More research still needs to be done in this field.

How Does Purring Affect Cats

Purring helps cats to bear various discomfort they experience. Purring helps with wound healing; it decreases pain and swelling.

Experts believe purring helps cats to heal quickly and better. The vibrations have been found to have therapeutic effects on cats.

Purring has been theorized to be the reason cats heal faster than dogs after surgery.

Cats can fall from a very tall height and have few to no complications compared to dogs. Purring has been suggested to have a significant role in this.

This low vibration sound has a lot of impacts on the kitten-mother relationship a few days after birth.

Kittens learn how to purr a few days after birth; they communicate with their mother using this. Purring also helps the mother to know the exact location of the kittens.

Why Has My Cat Suddenly Stopped Purring

Your cat stopped purring due to a deficit in the vocal cords or respiratory system. It should be a source of concern to you if your cat suddenly stops purring.

Purring is known to be of tremendous benefit to cats. It lowers blood pressure and strengthens the bones and muscles.

You may be left feeling jittery when your cat suddenly stops purring. You will likely start thinking your cat is unhappy or stressed!

But this may not be the case; your cat may be experiencing discomfort in the vocal cords or not just interested in purring!

In addition, your cat might have found other ways of communicating rather than purring. Some cats prefer using body language to communicate with their owners.

If your cat doesn’t purr, and he’s not showing any other disturbing symptoms, you don’t have to be bothered about this. Your cat may not just be the purring type!

What Does It Mean When Your Cat Doesn’t Stop Purring

It means your cat is demanding food or something very important from you. Cats purr and become needier when they want your food and your attention.

A sick or anxious cat may purr as well to gain some measure of comfort. Most times, cats repeatedly purr to have something they need.

Apart from purring continuously, your feline may also rub her face against you to get your full attention.

Purring, for most times, is an indication your cat is happy and content. But you should pay attention when he does this without stopping. Find out the reason behind the constant purrs.

If he keeps doing this repeatedly, take him to the vet for a proper assessment to ensure everything is okay. Cats purrs can mean a variety of things for your feline.