What Does It Mean When a Cat Purrs?

what does it mean when a cat purrs
23July 2016

When cats purr, their humans smile.


How can we help it? It’s an irresistible, delicious sound.

But it seems that this wonderful noise has a couple of different possible meanings.

When you ask the experts:

What does it mean when a cat purrs?

… you get some interesting answers.

One the one hand, yes, purring cats are often simply expressing happiness.
(That’s what we always thought, right?)
But purring can also be an expression of distress, or a self-comforting behavior.

So the next time you hear the quiet rumbling of your cat’s purr, double check there’s nothing amiss with your fur baby.

And if all is well with your cat family, you’re in for a treat.
Because that feeling of contentment is contagious.
Some of it’s bound to rub off on you (along with some cat fur of course)!

How Purring Cats Benefit Their Humans

When cats purr, it’s not only the furry family members who feel good! The humans get plenty of positive pay-offs, too.

  1. Purring cats are good for your health.

A purring kitty demands to be stroked. And stroking a cat has been scientifically proven to help with several health issues, from lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, to reducing stress and depression.

cats bring health benefits

Having a pussycat in the family is officially good for you!

  1. Purring cats make us feel like good providers.

It’s an achievement to create a relaxing, safe space for your fur baby.
Setting up the right environment for a happy pussycat is no accident.
It takes some planning and thought (Where will she sleep? Where will she play?).

  1. Purring cats are talking to us.

Why would kitties ever trouble themselves to speak, when slitted eyes and a loud rumble expresses pleasure (with a capital ‘P’) just fine?

learn to speak pussycat
‘Pussycat’ is an easy language to learn, and the rewards are instant.

(You can learn it free right here!)

  1. Purring cats remind us we live with a rare type of animal.

Purring is a specialist skill which most animals don’t have (but did you know 14 other kinds of animals purr?)

Cats are special – and it’s hard not to feel downright smug for being connected to one!

  1. Purring cats are an instant cure for loneliness.

A cat’s purr is the ultimate companionable sound. It’s more relaxing than music. And it often makes more sense than the TV!

cats prevent loneliness

When you’re sitting with a gently purring cat, it’s simply impossible to feel lonely.

  1. Purring cats create a sense of furry zen.

That rumbling sound creates a feeling of wellbeing for everyone who can hear it.

It’s calming. It’s reassuring. It murmurs soothingly, “All is well”.

  1. Purring cats make us feel loved.

Never mind saying “I love you” with a bunch of roses!
Pussycats don’t need to bother with grand gestures like that.

cats find it easy to express love

That sweet vibration says it all.

So what DOES it mean when a cat purrs?

It means that some powerful feel-good medicine is heading your way. Anytime you can hear that magical rumbling sound, you can remember that everything’s OK.

Because when cats purr, you have to smile.

Did you enjoy this post? Share it with your cat loving friends!
Liz Hardy is the founder of, where cats are not just pets – they’re family.
  • Enjoyable and interesting article.

  • Great article! I can attest that a cat’s purr can help relax someone. My kitty will sleep, on my shoulder, and his purring helps me sleep! 🙂

  • love you on twitter so much I wish you well x x

  • Aww…This article is true! The pur noise is there nose partially closing up so they can pur but puring for a cat is not a choice! Its simular to arousal if you know what I mean 😉

    • Thanks for your comment, Andrew! Yes, you can kinda tell that cats can’t control that purring mechanism!

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