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My Cat Doesn't Purr: Is He Unhappy?

If a cat doesn’t purr, is he unhappy?

Purring is a sound that people associate with a happy cat. The noise and vibration of a purr can be soothing to humans and may even have some health benefits for us.

So, if you have a cat that doesn't purr much or at all, is the opposite true? Is your cat unhappy?

What Does Purring Mean?

Purring means differing things. Individual cats might be more prone to purring in one or more of these specific instances, but in general, cats purr:

  • When they are relaxed
  • When they're scared
  • When they're hurt or sick
  • When females are in labor
  • When nursing or being nursed on
  • Sometimes, when meeting a new cat

Most, but certainly not all, purring seems to be done for the benefit of humans rather than inter-cat communication.

How Do Cats Purr?

Science hasn't figured this one out yet. Cats can purr when they're inhaling, exhaling, and even eating. The only time they don't really seem to purr is when they're asleep.

Many people feel that purrs are caused by a very fast contraction of the larynx, or voice box, coordinated with muscle movements in the diaphragm.

Is Not Purring a Sign of Feline Unhappiness?

Not necessarily. Some cats don't purr much or at all. So, if you have a cat that's never purred a lot, it might just not be his thing.

Some cats purr so softly that it's hard to hear. You may be able to feel a purr if you put your hand gently on the kitty's chest or throat.

However, if you have a cat that used to purr a lot but suddenly seems to have lost the will to purr, there might be a stress or even a medical problem. Look for other signs of what could be going on, like limping, decreased appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, hiding, or inappropriate urination. Get to the vet right away if you see any signs of illness.

You May Also Like These Articles:

Why Do Cats Purr? The How & Why of Cat Purring

Feline Myths and Misconceptions Part One

Why Does Your Cat Watch TV?

Why Do Some Cats Dip Their Paws in the Water Bowl?

Why Does My Cat Put Her Rear End in My Face?

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