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How cats purr: Different theories


There are many reasons why cats purr. But how do you actually do that? Scientists have been trying to find out and clearly prove this for decades. Purr, purr, purr: how does the cat actually do that? - Image: Shutterstock / Dreambig

There are many different theories about how cats purr - but it is not easy to prove them. After all, cats are known to only do what they want and they don't even think about purring for study purposes. They just don't feel like doing it on command, especially not in the laboratory. However, there are some theories as to how the noise is created.

Purring through vibrating vocal cords?

On the one hand, there is the assumption that purring is caused by vibrations of the vocal cords, and always when the cat is breathing in and out comfortably. Some theorists also believe that the lungs are responsible for the pleasant purring sound, while others suspect vibration from the blood flowing through the aorta.

In addition, there are assumptions that a purring cat makes the noise from the friction of the air on the hyoid bone, which connects the cat's tongue to the skull.

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Rhythmic impulses from the larynx

At the moment, an assumption dominates the science that cat purring arises from rhythmic impulses from the cat's larynx. This theory also has something to do with the inhalation and exhalation of the cat: the air flow that is created is interrupted by around 30 times by the vibrations of the larynx and produce this noise and a vibration of the whole body. With this skill, cats are already born and show it above all in well-being, but also in fear and stressful situations.