Cat sleeping and purring

Key takeaway

In many cases, cats purr because they’re happy or content, which is often when somebody is petting them. Your cat may also purr if they’re in pain or if they need something. The good news is that purring isn’t anything to worry about unless your cat is showing other symptoms.

You might have heard that cats purr when they’re happy, but there may be other reasons your cat is purring. The truth is that cats purr for lots of reasons, so it’s not always easy to find out why your cat is being vocal. It could be that your cat wants food or something else from you, or they may be letting you know that they’re content.

Understanding your cat is a key to keeping them healthy, so don’t ignore your cat when they’re meowing or purring frequently. While these noises aren’t always a sign that there’s something wrong with your cat, they can be.

So, why is my cat purring so much? We’ve got all the answers right here.

Why Do Cats Purr?

Like any animal, cats make different sounds because they’re not able to communicate with words like humans can. Oftentimes, a cat will meow when they’re in pain or need something, but purring is also common. If your cat is purring more than usual, here are some potential explanations.

Three reasons why cats purr

1. They're Content/Happy

One of the most common reasons that cats purr is because they’re happy. You might notice that your cat tends to purr more when they’re sitting in your lap being pet, or they may purr when they’re cuddled up in a cozy spot on the couch. If your cat is purring a lot but they appear to be content and comfortable, you probably don’t have anything to worry about.

While experts don’t know a whole lot about why cats purr, every cat owner knows purring is common when cats are cozy. Try to keep an eye on what causes your cat to purr, and don’t worry about it if your cat mostly seems to purr when you’re petting and scratching them.

Some cats may even drool a bit while they’re purring, which is also nothing to worry about as long as it’s not happening at other times. If you’re worried about any behavior you notice in your cat, consider talking to your vet or scheduling an appointment.

2. They're In Pain

While most people think of purring as something cats do when they’re happy, they can also use it to communicate. Your cat can’t tell you when they’re in pain, but they can make noise to let you know something is wrong. If your cat is purring a lot more than usual or purring while walking around the house or standing at your feet, they may be experiencing some kind of pain.

Your cat could be in pain for lots of reasons. Cats may get injured by another cat or other animals if they spend a lot of time outside. Your cat may also have a thorn in their paw or a cut that their fur is hiding. Treating cat injuries is important because they may become infected or get worse with time.

If you notice your cat is purring a lot and you notice other signs like limping or yowling, you should talk to your vet or schedule an appointment. Whether your cat has a cut that’s bothering them or a limb injury that’s making it tough to walk, early treatment is important.

3. They Need Something

Another potential reason your cat is purring is that they need something. If your cat is purring more than usual, the first thing you should do is check their food and water bowls. Your cat might simply be out of water and trying to let you know, or they could be hungry and looking for a food bowl refill.

You can also take this time to make sure your cat has a clean litter box. Cats don’t like using dirty litter boxes, so keeping your cat’s litter box clean is crucial. You should clean your cat’s litter box at least once each day, changing the litter every few days or once a week depending on your circumstances.

Meeting your cat’s basic needs is important, so take some time to make sure your cat has everything they need if they’re purring a lot.

How Do Cats Purr?

We’ve answered the basic question: why is my cat purring? You might also be wondering how exactly cats purr. Purring is a result of something cats do with their vocal cords, but experts can’t know for certain how exactly it works. The theory is that cats dilate and constrict the muscles surrounding their vocal cords, which causes air to vibrate and leads to the purring sound that cats make.1

While it’s hard to say exactly how cats purr or why your cat is purring, the important thing to remember is that purring isn’t generally a big deal. Your cat may just be content in their current environment, or they might want more food or water. As long as your cat isn’t in pain or showing other symptoms of an illness, you shouldn’t worry about them purring.

How Can I Get My Cat To Stop Purring?

Just because purring isn’t typically a big deal doesn’t mean it’s always welcomed. If your cat is purring excessively or their purring is keeping you up at night, you probably want them to quiet down a bit. Fortunately, purring is usually pretty quiet, so your cat’s purring shouldn’t bother you unless they’re lying near your head at night.

The truth is, purring is generally considered a good sign; it means that your cat feels happy and comfortable in their current environment. That being said, purring is a lot different from frequent meowing or yowling, which is more likely to be an indicator of a medical issue or some other discomfort. If your cat has a persistent meow or yowl and it seems like something is wrong, you should take them to the vet.

If you can stand it, let your cat purr and be happy. As long as they’re well-fed, comfortable, and loved, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about if your cat is purring.

Cat Is Purring: FAQs

What does it mean when a cat is purring at you?

You might notice that your cat begins purring when they look at you. So, what does it mean when a cat is purring at you? Cats often purr when they’re happy and comfortable, so your cat might be purring because they see a familiar face. It might even be the case that your cat recognizes signs that you’re going to cuddle with them and pet them, such as you sitting down on the couch with their favorite blanket. If your cat is purring at you, it probably just means they’re happy to see you and want to climb up in your lap.

Are cats really happy when they purr?

While there are a handful of reasons that cats may purr, cats definitely purr when they’re happy. You might notice that your cat tends to purr when you’re petting and scratching them, or that they purr more often when they’re sitting in your lap. If your cat seems to be purring because they’re happy, there’s nothing to worry about.

Why does my cat purr near me?

Your cat might be purring near you because they’re excited to see you. Cats know who feeds them, pets them, and takes care of them, and those are usually the people they’re most attached to. If your cat is purring near you, that probably just means they’re happy.

If your cat won’t stop purring or is purring near you and making other noises, they might want food or you may need to clean their litter box.

Cat purring in owner’s arms

Final Notes

There are lots of reasons your cat might purr, whether they’re happy, in pain, or they need something. Purring seems to be a natural response to happiness in cats, so it’s typically nothing to worry about unless your cat seems to be in pain. If your cat is yowling or meowing frequently, you may want to call a vet.

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References

  1. “Why Do Cats Purr? NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine Behavior Expert Explains.” NC State Veterinary Medicine, 25 Sept. 2016, https://cvm.ncsu.edu/why-do-cats-purr-nc-state-university-college-of-veterinary-medicine-behavior-expert-explains/