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You cat’s purr is the tool that it uses to communicate with you. It may purr for many different reasons, but all of them are to get your attention so you know how your cat is feeling.
“Cats purr when you pet them, when they eat and even when they don’t feel well,” says author Jeanne Adlon, who is also a professional cat sitter. “They also purr when they are happy and content. Cats can be different and varied, just like people.”
There are different varieties of purrs that your cat can make. Says Adlon: “In addition to a normal purr when you’re stroking your cat, there’s the silent purr, when you feel the vibration of the purr as you pet the cat’s body but may not hear it. Then, there’s the loud purr, which you can hear sometimes from across the room. Loud purrs seem to come from a cat that is simply content on its own.”
Purrs are not the only sounds that help your cat communicate with you. If your cat is frightened or upset, it can hiss, which acts as a warning. The other sound that we all know is a meow, which means your cat is hungry or wants attention. “When cats play together, they also often meow in friendship,” says Adlon.
Stacey Brecher is a freelance writer. She has contributed to Animal Fair magazine, and her blogs have previously appeared on The Dog Daily.