Why Does My Cat Do That? Tip#4 - Why Does My Cat Sometimes Purr When She Is Not Happy?
Excerpt from Why Does My Cat Do That? by Catherine Davidson
Q: One thing I thought I know about cats is that they purr when they are contented. Sure enough, my lovely cat purrs away like an engine when I am petting her. But the other day, she had a horrid fright when some workmen fired up a pnematic drill just near the bush where she was napping. Not surprisingly, she made her escape and hid under the bed, but, strangely, she also started to purr. She was clearly still distressed because I couldn't coax her out for more than an hour. So, why was she purring?
A: You have raised a question tht has perplexed scientists for years: Why do cats purr? Cats generally purr when they are being petted or fed, so clearly purring is sometimes a mark of contentment. Cats learn to purr when they are week-old kittens as a way of letting the mother know that all is well. She purrs in turn to let them know that she is relaxed and receptive. So purring begins as a form of communication. It is rooted in the relationship between a mother cat and her kittens, and so it is one of the signs that you cat considers you to be its parent.
Cats are also known to purr when they are stressed. For example, some cats purr when they are visiting the veterinarian, queens commonly purr when they are in labor, and cats have even been known to purr when severly injured, and even in the moments before death. The explanation for this paradox may be that the act of purring has a soothing effect on a cat. In the absence of another (mother) cat, a distressed cat may resort to purring in order to calm itself.
But some scientists believe that there may be another explanation. Cats purr in a consistent sonic pattern at a frequency of 25-150 hertz. This range of sound frequency has been found to improve bone density and encourage self-healing. So, the injured cat may instinctively purr in order to heal itself - surely a sign that the cat is a most remarkable animal.
With over 50 questions and answers that every cat owner asks, this book will help you solve the riddles of your cat's behavior - and put your own into context. Purchase Why Does My Cat Do That? from Catnip.