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Does Purring Tire Cats?



Reviewed By: Dr. Joel Robertson

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Purring can be both soothing and energizing for cats, depending on the situation.

While cats may get tired from purring, in general, they will often relax and even drift off into sleep when they are purring.

Purring can be beneficial for cats as it helps to keep them calm and relaxed while providing a sense of contentment and security.

Key Takeaway

  • Cats purr for a variety of reasons, including expressing contentment, soothing themselves in stressful situations, communicating with their kittens, or even when they are injured or unwell, as the vibrations may stimulate healing.
  • Purring does not tire cats as it is a natural and reflexive behavior that provides them with comfort and is as normal to them as breathing or meowing.

Why Do Cats Purr?

Does Purring Tire Cats

Cats purr for a variety of reasons, and it’s not always because they’re content.

While cats often purr when they’re relaxed or comfortable, such as during petting or feeding, they also purr in other circumstances.

Some cats may purr when they’re anxious or stressed as a self-soothing behavior.

Kittens will purr to communicate with their mother. Additionally, some cats may purr when they’re injured or unwell.

Does Purring Tire Cats?

No. Cats do not get tired from purring because it’s a reflex action that is controlled by their nervous system and provides them with a sense of comfort and relaxation.

The act of purring is essentially caused by their laryngeal muscles twitching as they breathe in and out, generally in response to contentment or happiness.

Purring to cats is as normal and intuitive as breathing or meowing, and it helps with many functionalities of their lives.

However, if a cat’s purr becomes significantly louder and begins to race, it may be a sign that the animal feels agitated. While purring requires conscious effort, cats cannot purr when in a deep sleep.

How Does Purring Affect Cats?

Purring has multiple effects on cats. One of the main theories is that purring acts as a healing mechanism.

The vibrations produced by purring are thought to be physically rejuvenating, helping cats retain their muscle tone and bone density.

These vibrations can also stimulate the release of endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers and mood boosters.

Additionally, purring can have a calming effect, lowering stress hormones, which can be beneficial for healing and lowering blood pressure.

Moreover, the act of purring, produced through intermittent signaling of the laryngeal and diaphragmatic muscles during both inhaling and exhaling, is not tiring for cats. Instead, it’s almost like a form of “cat exercise.”

Finally, it’s also believed that purring can help reduce symptoms of dyspnoea (difficulty in breathing) in cats.

Can Cats Control Their Purring?

Cats can control their purring both voluntarily and involuntarily.

It’s not just a sign of contentment, but also a response to various emotional states, such as stress, fear, or relaxation.

Purring is mostly an automatic reaction, but cats can also choose to purr at specific times.

For instance, they may purr when they want to communicate with their human caregivers, signaling that they are comfortable or need attention.

They can also stop purring if their attention is diverted if they feel threatened, or if they are in pain. Cats even start purring a few days after birth, which helps their mothers locate them for feeding.

Does Purring Require Effort?

Purring does not require a significant amount of effort from cats because the process is largely automated and triggered by the cat’s brain, signaling the larynx to make the purring sound.

This is why cats can purr for extended periods without getting tired, even while sleeping or eating.

However, it’s not completely devoid of effort as the brain needs to send continuous signals to maintain the purring.

It’s also worth noting that purring could be both voluntary and involuntary, happening instinctively in response to various emotional states or consciously when the cat wants to communicate something.

Should You Purr To Your Cat?

Purring back to your cat is not harmful and can even help foster a deeper bond between you two.

Mimicking cat behaviors, such as purring, can be seen as a form of communication that your cat may understand.

It’s worth noting that purring is a way cats express various emotional states, including contentment, stress, and even need for attention.

Therefore, when you purr back to your cat, it might interpret as a sign of affection or comfort.

Additionally, purring releases endorphins in cats, which could potentially have a similar calming effect on humans.


Q: Is purring always a sign of contentment?

A: While purring is often seen as a sign of contentment, it can also occur in other situations. Cats may purr when they are in pain, scared, or seeking attention.

Q: Can all cats purr?

A: No, not all cats can purr. Only feline species have the ability to purr. Other species, such as big cats like lions and tigers, cannot purr.

Q: How do cats make the purring sound?

A: Cats make the purring sound by vibrating their larynx and diaphragm muscles while they breathe.

Q: Can cats get tired of purring?

A: Cats do not get tired of purring. Purring is a natural behavior for them and they can continue purring for as long as they like.

Q: Is it normal for a cat to purr constantly?

A: Constant purring can be normal for some cats, while others may only purr occasionally. It ultimately depends on the individual cat and their purring behavior.

Q: Why do cats purr when they’re not happy?

A: Cats may purr when they’re not happy because purring can help them calm down and self-soothe in stressful situations.

Q: Can a cat’s purr indicate their health?

A: Yes, a cat’s purr can indicate their health. When a cat is sick or in pain, their purr may sound different or may be absent altogether.

In Conclusion

When cats purr, it is a sign of pleasure and contentment. However, cats can overdo it when it comes to purring as well.

In general, too much purring can lead to tiredness for some cats, though the exact amount of purring a cat can do before becoming fatigued can vary depending on the individual cat’s health and age.

Please take the time and leave a comment below if this article helped you, or you have any additional questions.

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