What Does It Mean When A Cat Purrs?

What does it mean when a kitten or cat purrs? Is it a sign of affection or something else?

Cats purr because they enjoy being stroked and scratched. They also purr when they are happy, relaxed, or tired. Purring is a form of communication between cats and their owners.

There are many different reasons why a cat will purr, for example, when they are feeling good, and they often purr when they want attention from their owner. If you hear a cat purring, it can sometimes mean he/she wants to be petted. 

This article will explore exactly what it means when you hear that soothing and relaxing purr come from your cat.

What Is Purring Exactly?

Cats’ purrs use their larynx and their diaphragm muscles when they breathe. This makes them produce low-frequency sounds, which are the soothing rumbles that we know as purrs. However, we do not know how cats’ brains control these muscle movements.

Why Do Cats Purr?

There are several different reasons why a cat may purr, the main reason is that they’re happy or content. They also purr when they’re stroked, or if they want something from you such as food or affection. Some cats will even purr just because it feels good to them.

Let’s go through some of the reasons why a cat may purr.

They Are Happy

One of the main reasons why cats purr is that they are happy. You will often see this when you are giving your cat affection, scratching its head, or stroking its back. This means that they are comfortable with you doing this and are happy that you are.

They Are Hungry Or They Want Something

A cat may purr at you just to get your attention, much like when a cat meows. This is usually for one of two things, attention or food, however, it could be for more specific reasons such as wanting to go outside. Everyone’s cat is different so how they get your attention will be different also.

Relief And Healing

When a cat purrs, it is releasing endorphins into its body, which are natural painkillers. These endorphins can help your cat feel better and also help the cat heal faster after an injury.

Does My Cat Purr When I’m Not Around?

Whether, or not, your cat purrs when you are around or not is solely depending on the cat. However, it is a bit of a paradox whether your cat purrs when you aren’t around because you aren’t around to monitor it. 

If your cat often purrs when you aren’t stroking it then it is likely that it also purrs when you are not around for its own benefit.

Signs Of A Happy Cat

So now that we have looked at what it means when a cat purrs, let’s look at some other ways that you can tell if your cat is happy.

Purring isn’t the only thing that your cat does when it is happy, your cat can express itself in many different ways. Here are some of the ways in which you can tell your cat is happy.

Slow Blinking AKA “Cat Kisses”

Cats blink when they want something. Blinking is a sign of affection. A cat’s eyes close when they’re feeling safe and secure.

When a cat looks into someone’s eyes, it means he trusts them. So if you see your cat closing their eyes, give them some love by looking into their eyes as well.

Rubbing Up On You

Cats use their paws to groom themselves. They use their noses to sniff out smells. Their faces contain scent glands that give off scents when rubbed.

When cats are happy, they rub their heads and bodies against people. This is how they express their love. SO when your cat comes up to you and headbutts you, then they are just showing that they love you.


Cats are normally seen ‘kneading’, this is when they move their paws in a way that makes it look like they are kneading bread.

They will often do this on soft surfaces like blankets or even your clothes. When they do this, it is a sign of them being comfortable and therefore happy around you.

Exposing Their Belly

Cats are very loving animals. Their tummies are a big part of them. They want to make sure that their tummies aren’t exposed to danger. So when they roll over, it means that they trust you. 

However, this doesn’t mean it is an invitation for you to rub their belly, and some cats may not like it if you were to touch their belly while it is exposed. Them showing you their belly simply is them saying ‘I trust you’, it doesn’t mean that they want it rubbed.


Cats groom themselves to keep themselves clean. Grooming behaviors include cleaning their bodies, removing dead hair, and keeping their coats shiny. Cat owners should watch out for over grooming, as this could indicate a health issue.

Cats won’t just groom themselves when they are happy, they may even try to groom you, this will likely be through them licking you. This is a sign that they are fond of you and want to take care of you, as they would one of their own kittens.

Bringing You “Gifts”

Cats are natural hunters and carnivorous animals. This means that their idea of a ‘gift’ may be a little different from ours. If a cat brings you something that it has killed outside, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Your cat is simply trying to help by bringing you some food and likes you enough not to eat it themselves. Female cats are more likely to hunt than male cats. 

Final thoughts

There are a lot of different reasons why your cat may purr, but all of them seem to be positive reactions, they could help heal, help them tell you what they want, and of course help them tell you that they are happy. 

If your cat purrs regularly then it is usually a happy cat. If your cat doesn’t purr regularly then don’t worry as there are many ways that you can tell if your cat is happy, we have looked at these in this guide.

Courtney Trent
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