When we think of a cat, the first thing that likely comes to mind is hearing them purr, but when you never hear your cat purr, it can be very worrying.
There are actually a few reasons why your cat may not be purring and by reading this article, you will be able to get to the bottom of it and get the care your cat might be (silently) asking for.
Why Do Cats Purr?
Cats purr for multiple reasons, the main one being a way to communicate and bond with their mother as a young kitten.
It’s not clear how they make this sound, but the consensus is that it is the result of the larynx, the neural oscillator, and the laryngeal muscles vibrating.
The sound of a purr can vary greatly, and some owners get to know their cats so well that they can tell who is purring without even seeing them.
This is one of the reasons why it is said that cats purr as adults as well because it is a way for them to communicate with their owners whether it be asking for food or expressing affection when snuggling.
Not only is it a way to communicate, but purring has a calming effect on the cat that in stressful situations such as being injured or lost will be able to self soothe.
Cats can also change the type of purr that they are doing in order to stimulate skin, bone, and tissue regeneration and some say that purring is an effective cancer preventative.
As well as being beneficial for the cat, having one purr is also very soothing to us and can have a positive impact on our health.
With all of these different reasons as to why cats purr in mind, it can be a bit confusing for cat owners because usually purring is associated with a happy cat, but sometimes it can be because they are nervous or agitated.
That is why purring is an important tool for cats to have because we can use it to understand a bit more about their mood and how we should behave around them but when your cat never purrs, it can leave you in the dark.
Why Doesn’t My Cat Purr?
Here are some of the reasons why your cat doesn’t purr that vary in seriousness but most of the time it is nothing to worry about as long as you know your cat is not behaving out of character.
It’s Not How They Communicate
There are some cats out there who just don’t feel the need to purr because they have other ways to communicate such as through body language or other vocalization such as meowing or hissing.
It is likely that they have grown up this way and if you suspect that this is the reason they don’t purr, it does not need intervention.
You may worry that since your cat is not purring, they are not getting the health benefits that come along with it but as long as they get regular vet checkups and have a healthy lifestyle including diet and exercise, they will live a long and happy life.
They Physically Can’t
Some cats don’t have the correct parts to make the purring sound such as their larynx not being stiff enough or their vocal cord is not the right shape.
Unless they seem in distress or are having problems with breathing and meowing then it is not serious but if they are showing other signs of struggling in this area then it is worth taking them to the vet to get checked out.
It is said that feral cats born to feral mothers are a lot quieter than domesticated cats.
The theory behind this is that the feral mother discourages the kittens from meowing because it can attract predators.
It is also likely due to the fact that feral cats do not need to purr nearly as much if at all because they do not need to use it to communicate with humans as they are not integrated with them.
If you have a cat that was brought up by a feral mother, there is a chance that they will start purring again when they get comfortable in a domesticated life and lives with other cats in the household that purr, but this is not always the case.
It may be due to an illness that your cat is not purring, this is especially the case if they once used to purr quite often but have suddenly stopped.
Even if your cat is domesticated, very tame, and friendly, it is still deeply ingrained in them that they should not purr if they are ill or injured because it will make them known to predators that will take advantage because they are not equipped to fight back or escape.
As well as no longer purring, cats who are either injured or ill will likely also avoid you and hide in small spaces as it is another survival instinct.
If these behaviors are present, you should take your cat to the vet as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, for most cats, it does not take a lot to stress them out as they are quite sensitive and take much longer to adjust to changes.
Sometimes all it can take is a change in their diet, but other events such as moving home, adding a new family member whether it be another pet or human, and a change in routine will trigger stress and your cat will be much less inclined to purr.
The refusal to purr is just one sign of a stressed cat, other things to look out for is an increase in aggression, avoidance, making themselves bald, and not eating.
To help your cat deal with their stress, you can make some safe spaces for them that are high up or somewhere where only they can get to.
You can also get plug-ins that let out pheromones that will help level their mood and make them feel calmer.
If these techniques are not helping your cat, and they are still showing signs of stress, you should take them to the vet and get more intensive treatment such as medication or making changes to how your cat is currently living.
As cats age and get wiser, they are likely to get a lot calmer and will not purr as much as they used to.
Getting older also means that their muscles may not be as good at vibrating so their purr can be softer, quieter, or stop altogether which is very natural and does not mean they need to go to a vet.
In conclusion, most of the time if your cat is not purring, it is not because of a horrific medical emergency and instead comes down to how they communicate.
However, this is not to say that if you have any doubts not to take them to the vet because there are cases where it is due to illness, injury, or stress but this is only plausible if your cat has suddenly stopped purring and has other changes in behavior.