Indeed, how do cats purr? Cat lovers and scientists alike have asked that question for a long time. And thanks to many studies, we are closer to knowing exactly how cats purr.
It was once believed that the cats purr was caused by the blood rushing through the vena cava. But now scientists believe that internal laryngeal muscles are the real source of cat purring.
So how does it work? How do cats purr? The internal laryngeal muscles are in charge of opening and closing the glottis, which is a fancy name for the space between the vocal cords.
When the glottis closes and opens quickly, it allows air to flow rapidly between the vocal chords. This action causes the vocal chords to vibrate, which in turn causes the purring sound.
Interestingly, all this activity happens after a "neural oscillator" signals the brain to open and close the glottis.
Why do scientists think that the laryngeal muscles produce the purring sound? They have found that cats with laryngeal paralysis do not purr.
Interesting "purring" tidbits
--Why do cats purr? Many people think that cats purr only when they are happy or content. But this notion is not completely accurate. In fact, cats purr to express any emotional state.
--Usually, purring is accompanied by other "cat sounds", including chirping.
--All domestic cats are born with the ability to purr. Kittens start purring within a few days of being born.
--Kittens purr while they are nursing.
--Many experts believe that kittens communicate with their mother through their purring sounds.
--Big cats like the lion and tiger cannot purr, at least not in the way domestic cats do. They do emit other sounds, though.
--Wild cats like pumas and mountain lions can also purr.
--The cats purr can go from a deep, low growl, to a soothing monotone, to a high-pitch quiver. It all depends on how the cat is feeling and his physical condition.