a veterinarian, I am commonly asked “Why do cats purr?” Most people believe cats
purr when they are content or happy. While cats do purr when they are content,
researchers attempting to uncover the answer to this 3,000-year-old mystery are
finding the answer more complicated than previously thought. All domestic cats
purr, as well as many wild cats, like pumas, ocelots, lions and cheetahs.
Purring can occur in a variety of situations. When cats purr in the presence of
other unknown cats or kittens, the behavior may serve to convey submissiveness
or a friendly greeting. While it is true that cats purr contentedly while on
their pet parent’s lap, they also purr when they give birth, when they are
frightened, severely injured and even while dying. Because kitties clearly
cannot be content in all these situations, contentment or friendliness cannot be
the only reason they purr.
So why else would they purr? More...