Why Do Cats Purr?

Why Do Cats Purr?


Have you ever been lying in bed trying to sleep
when the cat jumps up on your chest and starts, like, kneading you, getting all up in
your face rumbling like a Corvette and drooling into your mouth? And you’re kind of
annoyed because, like, you don’t love the taste of cat spit, and you have to get up early. And you’re also like “Awww… that’s very cute. This cat has genuine affection for me.” Well, don’t be fooled! Sheriff Fluffy is probably
happen to be cuddling you, but cats don’t just purr when they’re content; they also do it when they’re in pain, giving birth and even dying. (INTRO PLAYING) The smaller members of the felidae family
including lynx, cougar, ocelot and domestic cat can purr. And they do it by pulsing muscles in their larynx and diaphragm. The resulting vibrations come in a
rhythmic pattern during both inhalation and exhalation at a frequency
between 25 and 150 hertz. And cats make all kinds of interesting sounds, hisses, growls, mews, meows and (CAT NOISE), which is one of my favorites; all communicating
specific feelings like “feed me” or “you better better recognize”, while purring could mean “I’m so happy” or “Crap! I’m dying!” Since purring occurs in
such different emotional states, it’s not considered a true communicative vocalization. Instead, it turns out, it’s a
kind of self-medication. Veterinarians have long known that cats are quicker to heal than dogs; especially from bone trauma. It’s not uncommon for distracted cats to
fall from upper level windows in a condition called the “high-rise syndrome.” But what’s incredible, is that these poor
broken cats have a 90 percent chance for survival, no matter how messed
up they are, in part because they have a built-in method of physical therapy. In
the late 1990s, Doctor Clinton Rubin of the State University
of New York and his colleagues discovered that exposure to low-level
frequencies helps build bone density, and a cat’s purr falls exactly within that frequency
sweet spot. So it could be that cats’ purring helps
cats heal and keep them healthy. And people
who have gone through physical therapy can attest to this. Sitting there purring beats the other
way to build bone density– actually moving around. Let’s face it:
cats are kinda lazy, and purring may help take the place of good ol’ fashioned
exercise. Other animals need to, like, run after
balls, or chase cars to maintain healthy bones, but a cat need only put up its
paws and purr! And those perfect hertz vibrations may
help humans too. Turkeys, rats and sheep strapped to vibrating plates at purr
frequency for 10 to 20 minutes a day showed a marked increase in bone strength. Researchers are now looking at how this technology could benefit astronauts who suffered bone density
loss under low gravity conditions in space. Maybe Canadians Jack and Donna
Wright, the dubious world record holders for most cats owned by one household,
should call NASA because they have 689 cats. 689! I was picturing a mountain of
cats, all in one enormous bean bag just rehabilitating visiting astronauts
with their positive vibrations. So crazy, it just might work! Also, who
cares? It’s adorable! Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow. If you have any questions or comments or suggestions, you can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and of course, in the comments below. And if you want to continue getting smarter with us here at SciShow, you can go to youtube.com/SciShow and subscribe!

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  1. So if a person spends significant amounts or time with purring cats could it improve their bone strength?

  2. I thought that my new cat did not purr. Never heard or felt his purr in our first year together.
    I recently tested a stethoscope on my cat and found out that this cat in fact purrs
    every time I pet him. I have heard of the quiet meow but never heard of the quiet purr.
    Weird!

  3. my cat is particulalry fond of the "mrrr". but he only does it after he bites me or hits me with a paw (sometimes not hard, so I dont do anything about those)

    its not like I treat him bad, I just tap him when he bites or scratches hard because its not nice.

  4. MAYBE the cats are trying to heal us by being close to us while purring, giving US the low vibration frequency, and letting us pet them is the best! 😀

  5. When I’m sick or in pain my cat cuddles me and purrs, she did this to my dad when he had a bad flesh eating bacteria from Iraq.

  6. I have a cat that can't purr or meow very well. He apparently never had a strong purr. But he still attempts to purr and he does it through his nose and throat. Sometimes he can purr pretty well but it takes him awhile and it's pretty cute.

  7. I can see the removal of bullies has finially paid off for society.
    I wondered what we would gain. WHO KNEW.. that we lacked cat videos. Progress…
    Ahhhh. Wonderful

  8. Could i play my subsystem at between 26 and 150 Hertz b l i need in order to make my bone structure stronger especially if I'm injured?

  9. question: is there a way to understand our pets better? they usually try and communicated/signal to us but, is there really a way to "speak" with them, is this possible? i mean there are animal whisperers, how do we build bonds with animals without speaking with them, i mean, humans have other ways of communication besides speech but, by just petting and giving our dog treats make them "like" you? or does it go deeper than that, and how do animals understand us? animals like service dogs, sometimes understand when we're sad or happy etc. how is that? does anything that I'm saying make any sense or am i rambling about complete nonsense.

  10. This is so stupid. Cats purr because they want to keep warm especially when in contact with friendly humans – this they do to compound the heat – human contact instantly increases the cat's temperature enabling it to sleep. This I figured out myself!

  11. A massive, gently vibrating mountain of sleeping felines with broken astronauts immersed in it at regular intervals. I really like that image.

  12. What you DIDNT know about purring is that it's energetically healing,when a cat rubs on you or purrs they are actually strengthening your electromagnetic field/aura and known to keep evil spirits away.They heal physically and energetically.

  13. Why is'nt the matter. A biological and organ system explanation of how would be better. Also if it heals what Mhz frequency is the sound measured at

  14. My cat doesn't purr and he just went whea his name is shadow but we call him quee quee and but muffin and dumbas…. Dame i get of topic fast

  15. I also read in a cat book that the purr when nervous, which explains why my new cat from the RSPCA was purring up a storm when we first brought her home.

  16. My understanding as a long-retired veterinarian is that the esophageal varices play a role in cat purring and is related to their blood pressure which may decrease somewhat when they are relaxed or near death. High rise syndrome is what happens when cats fall out of skyscrapers, and have a remarkable ability to survive (although there are limits related to height) when they hit the pavement. There are specific fractures that occur because they orient normally as if standing on all fours so when they contact the ground the fracture forces are on their jaws(mandibular symphysis), acetabulum of the hips, and elbows.

  17. My calico loves to purr when my depression and other mental problems are flaring. She will plant herself in my lap putting where she purrs over my heart and just purrs up a storm. So yea purring helps me at least!

  18. Cats also purr in your ear at stupid o'clock in the morning, not for food etc, but because they're bloody evil!
    There's one that comes to sit in our front garden, only when he knows my dog (my adorable, cute as a button, ex-racing greyhound, who is breed-typical and therefore as thick as 2 short planks) is looking out the window. The more the dog barks, the more the cat "acts" in front of him. It only scoots when one of us goes to calm the mutt down!
    Don't get me wrong, I love cats. But they are complete a$$h0l€$ (hope I've made that as family friendly as possible lol).

  19. This could explain the idea of old ladies having cats.. women are more likely to develop osteoporosis when they age- so having a cuddly cat or 2 might be … helpful?

  20. You mention a possible use of these vibrations for helping astronauts; is it possible that this type of physical therapy could help people with osteoporosis? I'd love to hear about help with that.

  21. Cat spit? What about a cat shoving her ass in me face all the time while purring? I think me cat needs a damn bf…get married and move outta the damn house!!!

  22. Things I said to my cat while watching this video: “So you’re not a dainty little lady?” “Oh yeah I can hear the health” “Aren’t you just the healthiest little lady” “Yes gurl get to health on”

  23. When I saw the title to this video I couldn't think of anything other that how many times science has been proven wrong because they claim to have answers to questions they have very few solid facts to support. The reasons cats purr is something we simply cannot answer without being a cat. However I don't understand why we need to think to hard about it. Humans have a long history of using vibrations to relax. Vibrating pillows, chairs beds ect. I myself often vibrate my leg when I'm sitting down watching TV. It feels good. It's relaxing. Why would anyone thing a purr was any different that this. My Cat often jumps on my lap when I'm doing this a deliberately lays down on the leg I'm shaking every time. I even found my cat likes it when I shake her paw up and down repeatedly. She even likes my vibration controller when I'm playing video games. Thinking there is some deeper meaning in a cat's purr is truly making a mountain out of a mole hill.

  24. When you make a video like this, open with cute clips of cats purring, not some grotesque guy with a voice like nails on a chalkboard talking about cat spit. I can't watch this. No one else has in years, either.

  25. I'm a little late to this video but, my cats used to sleep with me, back when I had cats. Their purrs would help me sleep at night, even if they were laying on my ears, and their purrs were very loud. There were many times when I would wake up in the morning with a cat blindfold on. On the other hand, there were times when mommy cat was giving her kittens hunting lessons, and I was the thing they were supposed to hunt. Once they had enough practice with me, mommy cat would take them outside to hunt the real thing. While that did leave me short on sleep at time, I enjoyed the little game.

  26. Wow, this info is very enlightening educational my little furball better not be dying though I love him too much he's my life thank God he's only four months old so he's Young

  27. Now I am scared because my cat purrs a lot and he is very old (16 ish we dont know exactly because we found him when he was little) and now i am scared he is going to die :c

  28. Me curious cuz cat is purring*
    This video: cats purr when they are in pain too
    Me: MY BEAUTIFUL SON R U HURT WHAT DID I DO

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