Skip to main content

Why Cats Purr When Under Duress

The classic reason why cats purr is because they are content.  That is the image we have but since the age of the Internet most of us now know that cats purr at other times, when for example they are in great pain, injured or even dying.  Contentment is not only the reason for purring.  Dr Morris says that this can be explained if we decide that purring is a signal indicating a need for friendship.  It is signal which says to an owner “thank you for your friendship given".

Some people still consider that purring is a mystery.  They believe that we still don't know why cats purr because it occurs on so many occasions other than when they are content.  I wonder if we can look to ourselves for an explanation.  Often when people are under duress or stress they present to the world an image that they are unconcerned.  They do this by trying to look calm and sometimes they vocalise in a way which indicates that they are calm and content.  Some people whistle when they are under stress or they might become more talkative.  Some people might hum as a way of looking calm and also calming themselves.  These are survival instincts which are still present in humans. I wonder whether these human behaviours shed some light on why cats purr when they are under duress?

My instincts tell me that cats purr when they are under duress as a way of calming themselves and presenting to the world that they are less concerned than they really are, as a means of survival.  That is my personal assessment and it is different to that of Dr Morris.


Popular posts from this blog

Cat Ear Mites

Brown gunge. Yes, I know this is a ferret! It does show the build up of dark brown to black ear wax caused by the presence of the cat ear mites in the outer ear canal. This parasite is not restricted to the domestic cat, which makes this photo valid and a useful illustration (I was unable to find a suitable photo of a cat with the condition). Photo Stacy Lynn Baum under a creative commons license. Ear mites (minute crab like creatures) are one of the causes of inflammation of the outer ear canal (scientific term for this inflammation is Otitis externa ). The outer ear canal is the tube that runs from outside to the ear drum (the pathway for the reception of sound), which can be seen when looking at the ear. Otitis externa affects humans and often swimmers as it is called "swimmer's ear" in humans. This YouTube video show ear mites under a microscope. They are not actually in the ear in this video. There are many possible causes of Otitis externa in c

Feline Mange

I'll write about three types of feline mange (a) feline scabies or head mange (b) demodectic mange and (c) sarcoptic mange. The source material is from Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook - the best on the market . Generalised feline mange? Puerto Rico - Photo by Gotham City Lost And Found Feline Scabies - head mange Head mange or feline scabies, is a fairly rare condition in cats, which is caused by the Notoedres mite (head mite) that only reproduces on cats. The female mites burrow a few millimeters (that is a lot) into the skin around the head, and neck to lay eggs, which hatch and lay their own eggs. Their presence and activities causes intense itching that in turn causes the cat to scratch. The scratching will obviously be noticed and it will cause the skin to become red, scratched and worse infected. Symptoms: hair loss and scabs, thick wrinkled skin and grey/yellow crusts form plus the symptoms of scratching. Feline mange (head mange) is contagious and tr

Cat Anatomy

Cat Anatomy - Photo by Curious Expeditions . The picture above was taken at Wax Anatomical Models at La Specola in Florence, Italy. The photograph is published under a creative commons license kindly granted by the photographer. I am sorry if it is a bit gruesome. It is pretty well all I could find as an illustration that was licensed for publication. Cat Anatomy is a very wide ranging subject. The anatomy of a cat is very similar to human anatomy. If you were writing a biology book for students of biology you would go through every part of the a cat's anatomy in some detail. It would be similar to writing a book about the human anatomy. It would be a thick book and pretty boring for your average internet surfer. So, how do you limit such a big subject and make this post meaningful? The answer I think lies in doing two things: Having a quick general look at cat anatomy - an overview and; Focusing on the areas of cat anatomy that are particular to the cat and of parti