Why Do Cats Vibrate?

Why Do Cats Vibrate

Why do cats vibrate?

Cats vibrate because of their purring which results in vibrations. Here is how the process works:  the purr begins in the cat’s brain when a repetitive neural oscillator sends messages to the laryngeal muscles. These muscles are responsible for the opening and closing of the space between the vocal cords called the glottis. The muscles quiver at a rate of 25 to 150 vibrations per second. This causes the vocal cords to separate when the cat breathes, thus, producing a purr.  

Needless to say, not all cats can purr and only domestic cats and few wild cats can produce soothing vibrations due to their purring. Cats that purr cannot roar and vice versa and the difference lies in the small bone found inside their vocal cords.  In roaring cats, it is a flexible bone while in domestic cats, this bone is completely hardened and can only allow air vibrations during the breathing process. 

Benefits of vibrations as a result of a cat’s purrs

The vibrations produced by a cat’s purrs stimulate the muscles and support bone growth. The healing wonders of a cat’s vibrations work like the whole body vibration that humans use for bone and muscle problems.

Surprisingly, scientific studies have shown that the vibrations made by a cat’s purrs may also have a therapeutic healing activity on human bones and muscles. Scientists also claim that frequencies within the range of 18 to 35 HZ have a positive effect on joint mobility among humans.

Why do cats purr 

Just as dogs bark and humans smile, a cat’s true trademark is her purrs. They purr when they snooze in your bed, when they are fed and stroked, or when they clean themselves. The deep and continuous purrs release serotonin, a neurotransmitter that has a positive impact on emotions, moods and consciousness. 

Here are the common reasons why cats purr:

1. As a way to soothe and comfort themselves. 

Cats purr to calm and soothe themselves and mother cats purr while giving birth to regulate the pain. Newborn kittens find their way to their mother with their purring since they are still blind and deaf.  Felines also purr when threatened to help calm and control themselves.  

2. It means that they are happy. 

Cats tend to purr when they are relaxed, content and happy. You will know that your cat feels that way when the purring comes with a relaxed stance, her eyes are half-closed and her tail is not twitching but is completely still. 

3. It may mean that they are looking for food because they are hungry. 

Cats purr to signify that they are hungry in which case the purr is combined with an unpleasant cry or meow, akin to the sounds of a crying baby. 

4. As a means of self-healing and providing relief from pain. 

As mentioned earlier, cats purr to promote self-healing and to soothe themselves. Studies have shown that cats purr when they are in pain or feeling ill as it helps them to get better faster.  Purring helps to heal bones and wounds, build muscles, repair tendons, ease breathing and lessen pain and swelling among cats. 

5. As a means of communication with humans and fellow cats. 

Cats are smart animals and purring is a vital means of communication.  Felines purr to each other when they want to play and kittens purr to their mothers as part of the bonding process. Cats also purr to get their owners’ attention. 

Why do cats purr when they sleep?

While we normally hear cats purr during their waking time, most cats will also purr when asleep. This may be because a part of their brain that is responsible for the purr reflex is still active.  A cat purring in its sleep is an indication that they are relaxed, comfortable and having pleasurable dreams. 

Why do some cats purr louder than the others?

Some cats purr louder than the others which is at least partly caused by their breed.  Siamese cats are known to be very vocal and are also called meezers because of their loud and low-pitched voices. Other cat breeds that are known to purr louder compared to the others include the Sphynx, Peterbald and Oriental Shorthair. 

Cats may also purr louder compared to the rest because they feel happier than usual and this usually happens just before mealtime or when playing with her favorite toys. Conversily felines may also purr louder because they may be suffering from health issues such as cough and colds. Your cat may also be purring louder because she is older and her vocalization has changed due to a more developed chest cavity and lungs. 

Final thoughts 

Cats vibrate due to purring and most of the time it signifies that they are happy, content and relaxed.

Image: istockphoto.com / bbbrrn

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