Why do cats purr?

Looking at the reasons why your cat purrs and what it can mean.

19th January 2024

Have you ever wondered why your cat purrs? The truth is that there are numerous reasons why your feline friend may be purring. Fortunately, unless your cat is showing other symptoms, there is usually nothing to worry about.

Reasons cats purr include:

  • They’re happy or content
  • To communicate with other cats
  • To get your attention
  • They want food
  • They’re in pain or discomfort

More often than not, purring means your cat is in a good mood. However, you shouldn’t always assume this is the case. In this article, we take a closer look at why cats purr, so you can ensure they’re feeling puuurfect.

Does purring mean my cat is happy?

The most common reason why cats purr is because they’re happy. You’ll notice they purr more when they’re in a relaxed environment, such as sitting on your lap or curled up on the sofa. Their purring may also intensify when you’re stroking and touching them.

However, sometimes purring may not mean they’re content and comfortable. For instance, purring may also mean that your cat is nervous, which can often happen when you pick your cat up. The more you get to know your cat, the better chance you have of reading whether their purring is a positive or negative response to your actions.

Why does my cat purr and knead?

Cat kneading, also adorably known as ‘making biscuits’, is usually a sign that your cat is feeling relaxed. When you’re giving your cat plenty of fuss, you’ll notice they start purring louder and kneading soft objects with their paws, such as a blanket or your lap.

It’s a trait a cat develops when it’s a kitten, where they paw at their mother’s tummy to encourage milk flow from their teats. Therefore, when an adult cat demonstrates this behaviour, you know they feel safe and comfortable.

Purring in the morning or night

You may notice that your cat purrs more in the morning or at night. This is because they’re more affectionate at these times of day and want you to be attentive. There are several reasons why this may be the case, which include:

  • They’re hungry or thirsty
  • They want attention and to receive a fuss
  • They’re communicating
  • They feel more relaxed and calm

How to stop excessive purring at night

You may find your cat to be adorable and cute 99% of the time, but excessive and loud purring at night can test your patience. Usually, this will only be an issue if your cat sleeps right by your head, and because purring is a sign of happiness, you don’t really want to discourage it.

However, excessive purring at night can mean that your cat is stressed and struggling to settle. If so, here are some tips to ensure they’re feeling paw-sitive before bed.

  1. Try to keep them engaged and active during the day so they’re tired in the evening.
  2. Give them a small treat before bed.
  3. Create a comfortable sleeping environment for them.
  4. Leave a few toys out to keep them entertained.
  5. Try to stick to a consistent night-time routine.

It’s important to be patient when trialling different methods. If all else fails, you should try to sleep in separate spaces and keep your door closed.

Hopefully, now you know why cats purr, you realise that there is normally nothing to worry about and can rest assured knowing that your kitty feels loved and happy.

If you do still have concerns, then we recommend you take your cat to the vet for added peace of mind. While in most cases, purring would not normally be a symptom of an underlying health condition, we believe every cat should be covered by a cat insurance policy to help cover any vets' bills should the worst happen.

By following the cat advice in this article, you’ll always know when your lovable companion is stress–free and feline puuurfect!

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