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Why Does My Cat Purr When I Pet Her

Updated on September 29, 2010

Why Do Cats Purr?

As my master knows as little about the topic as the 'so-called' human experts, I see it as my job to set things straight.

Yes, I am a cat, or Felis Catus, as I am known in scientific circles. And while you might think such a small head must provide me with such little comprehension, I am here to say that I have learned to use all I have been given, rather than put it to waste as you humans do.

Were it not for the fact we can't open tuna cans ourselves we'd have nothing to do with you, but that's a story left to a better time. Suffice it to say, it will be difficult enough to get you to understand why we purr, so that will be enough of a lesson for a day. So, unclutter your muddled human mind and allow yourself to momentarily enjoy the superior intellect of a cat.

Forgive Me While I Take A Moment To Check My Stock Portfolio

Conglomerated Tuna is down again ... what a sad, sad day
Conglomerated Tuna is down again ... what a sad, sad day

Felis Catus 101

Where was I? Oh yes, teaching you how we communicate!

It's difficult to know where to start, so let's dive right in ... For starters, our needs are few so we haven't troubled ourselves learning many words to express ourselves when only a few are needed to do the trick.

Meow means I'm hungry or thirsty. We don't designate a separate word for both needs as we'd just assume you fulfill them both at once. It's difficult enough to get you to serve us once a day, we need not try going for twice.

Hiss means you have done something that offends us and you need to cease the activity immediately!

Howl means we are in the mood for love, and I need not explain that further - not even to a human such as yourself

Purr ... this one is difficult to put into words as it is a word given to context rather than actual meaning. Maybe I'm happy, maybe I'm depressed ... It's my little game I play with you to see if you are even slightly aware of what goes through my mind.

Sometimes you get it ... sometimes you don't. But given you have strained the effort to move your mouse around to learn more about me, I'll entertain you for a bit.

Meet Jasper and Dasher

The *Serve Me* Purr

Jasper is illustrating the *serve me* purr. In doing so, Jasper is giving cues to his human on the right spots to rub for maximum relaxation. Now, should his owner happen to become a twit, Jasper will turn around and bit him on the hand to remind him of who this human serves and how important it is to do the job right.

As for Dasher, he's calmly waiting to take charge of his human as he understands that Jasper is the top of the food chain in this household, so he will need to wait his turn.So you see, cats always respect the pecking order, unlike their unruly human pets.

Meet Mr. Hixx

The *Annoyed* Purr

Mr. Hixx is illustrating the *annoyed* purr. He's annoyed not only by his foolish name given to him by his human pet, but also by the fact that his human isn't petting him properly. Shaking does not equate to petting. A human of this age should already know that much, but some humans develop mentally much slower than others - and some remain forever mentally challenged.

You will notice how Mr. Hixx bites only to deliver the message, never to cause actual harm. No civilized cat would ever abuse their human pet, though many have been given every reason to do so. Humans can't help their inferiority, which is why our kind must do what we can to help them along.

Meet Jasmine

The *I'm Really Angry* Purr

By cat standards, this video is really difficult to watch. For you see, Jasmine goes into a full-blown hissy fit because her human pet taped over her favorite Garfield video. Of course, the human hears the cries and thinks she is hungry, but Jasmine is calling the human closer so her *I'm really angry* purr can be heard.

Cry on Jasmine! You make us cats look pathetic and weak - especially when you roll around on the floor in a fitful way. Just watching this video evokes the *I'm really angry* purr in me. How sad!

Meet Oscar

The *I'm Frightened* Purr

Oscar is illustrating the *I'm frightened* purr, though the untrained ear might mistake it for the 'serve me' purr. The distinction is the look in Oscar's eyes. For you see, Oscar ain't something he shouldn't have and is now considering how it will safely pass through the rest of his body.

Uncertainty is always a frightening thing, especially when one must consider how to expel an object from their body that was never meant to be eaten to begin with. The best result to be had here would be a small bout of indigestion and a bit of luck at the litter box ... but these situations rarely go well, often alluding to a howl later that is about anything but love.

Meet Jessica

The *I'm In Pain* Purr

Jessica's human has been playing this dreadful music for some time, causing Jessica's ears some awful plain. She is using the *I'm in pain* purr as a plea for her human to end her suffering, but again ... another human mistakes it for the *serve me* purr and starts petting her.

Not every purr means we want to be petted and mauled with affection ... well, most of them do, but that's beside the point! The fact is, you spend so much time worrying about everything else without paying enough attention to what we are really trying to say.

So, Why Do Cat's Really Purr?

We purr because we're happy, because we're sad, because we are frightened, because we are mad, and because we're in pain. But most of all, we purr because it suits us and because we often know you will confuse each purr with the *serve me* purr, offering us more of the affection that we crave.

So, unless we are having trouble breathing or we aren't moving ... assume it's the *serve me* purr and pet us. Otherwise, you might want to take us to the vet and have us checked out ... just in case we ate something we really shouldn't have and are in dire straits of how we will get it to safely pass out of our body.

And Now I Will End My Message With A Prayer

Author's Note

If you enjoyed this article then be sure to share it with your friends and I'll do what I can to write more just like this one. :)

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    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 5 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      Great Hub I really enjoyed it.The orange kitten looks like my trouble .She only sits on the computer when she THINKS I have been on long enough for her. She wants my attention.I should add that trouble watches tv. She is fond of family guy and american dad! Wonderful hub!

    • visionandfocus profile image

      visionandfocus 6 years ago from North York, Canada

      OMG! That praying cat is so me! Moving on...

    • frndlyghost profile image

      frndlyghost 7 years ago from California Wine Country

      My name is Murphy, and I'm a gorgeous Himalayan cat. Frndlyghost is my human's name -- she does all the typing for me. I think you have a great hub here. Keep up the good work!

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 7 years ago

      hi yoshi,

      very nice hub. I especially liked the praying cat :)

    • lovelypaper profile image

      Renee S 8 years ago from Virginia

      Very cute hub.

    • profile image

      ralwus 8 years ago

      Thanks for the clarification of cat language. I have two, they drive me nuts.

    • Laura du Toit profile image

      Laura du Toit 8 years ago from South Africa

      What a delightful hub. My 17 year old cat is sitting just about on top of the keyboard looking rather puzzled after listening to your cat videos. Really an adorable hub! Well done

    • Clara Ghomes profile image

      Clara Ghomes 8 years ago

      lol.. This is indeed a very nice hub.. I enjoyed the videos and the article.. keep it up and looking forward to read more.. :)

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      Very creative, Yoshi. Thanks for a fun hub!

    • lorlie6 profile image

      Laurel Rogers 8 years ago from Bishop, Ca

      Far too cute, Yoshi...thanks!!!


    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 8 years ago from Asheville, NC

      This is a cool Hub - cute cats too.