Why Do Cats Vibrate – Unravelling the Mystery


All cat owners desire a cozy snuggle with their furry companion, particularly when they purr and vibrate. Caressing their velvety fur, giving gentle scratches behind the ears or under the chin, maybe while lounging in front of the TV at night… pure bliss. But, does your cat derive the same pleasure from the moment as you do? One definite indicator is when your buddy begins to vibrate gradually, which is commonly referred to as purring. So, what is the reason behind cats vibrating?

Cats shake to express happiness. The vibration in cats originates from their throat muscles. Cats make a purring sound with their mouth shut. The reason behind why cats purr is still unknown, but it serves as a way for them to communicate.

Even though it is recommended to trust your cat’s purring, it is still important to observe all aspects of their behavior. For instance, if your cat is shaking and showing signs of fear or aggression, their purring may not indicate happiness. Your cat might be purring to soothe itself due to stress or pain. Take a close look at other indicators such as their tail, ears, and overall posture. If you suspect your cat is injured, approach them cautiously to prevent any harm to yourself or worsening their condition, and promptly contact your veterinarian.

Is It Normal For Cats To Vibrate

Yes, it is completely normal for cats to vibrate! While scientists are not certain about the precise reasons for purring, it is believed that specific circumstances lead to the vibration of a cat’s voice box. The muscles in the voice box, known as laryngeal muscles, are responsible for this vibration. They create the purring sound by opening and closing the gap between the vocal cords, called the glottis, and the sound is produced when air passes through.

Next time you notice your cat vibrating, try listening to them! If you place your hand on their side or back while they’re doing it, you’ll likely feel that their purring is synchronized with their breathing. Some cats have a different sound for their inhale purr compared to their exhale purr.

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What Does It Mean When A Cat Is Vibrating

The shaking feeling that cats often show is commonly known as purring. It is unclear whether purring is a conscious or unconscious action for cats, but it typically indicates that the cat is enjoying its current situation. Purring may be triggered by the release of endorphins, which are chemicals that our brain produces when we are in a pleasant state. These endorphins create a sense of well-being in both humans and cats.

The frequency of an average purr is 25 Hz, but it can differ among cats. The length and volume of a purr can vary, even in the same cat, depending on the situation or the cat’s age. Older cats may switch to a softer purr as they age and experience breathing or purring challenges.

What Does It Mean When A Cat Is Purring

A purr is a soft, vibrating sound that corresponds to an animal’s breath. Cats are not the only animals that purr! Some large cats can also purr, but they do so when they exhale, unlike domesticated cats who can purr continuously while inhaling and exhaling. However, no type of cat can both roar and purr. Scientists believe that this is due to the structure of a bone in the throat called the hyoid bone, although they have not yet found conclusive evidence. True purring is primarily limited to cat species, although other animals like raccoons and foxes produce a similar sound. Even humans can imitate a purr by rolling their rs or humming in the back of their throat.

While cats typically purr to express pleasure from treats or pets, they also purr as a self-soothing mechanism when they are in pain or upset. Similar to how some people fidget or play with their hair when anxious to reassure themselves, cats can purr to provide comfort in stressful situations. An instance of this is when cats purr during labor, potentially aiding in pain relief.

Why Do Cats Vibrate While Sleeping

Cats produce various types of purrs depending on the situation. Purring can be a way for cats to communicate their needs to their caretakers. These purrs, known as solicitation purrs, are different from purrs that are not related to an urgent need. Studies have demonstrated that humans can differentiate between solicitation purrs and non-solicitation purrs.

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Likewise, we understand that cats have dreams, and your cat naturally communicates in a similar manner to how some individuals talk in their sleep. Depending on the dream, your cat might produce various purring sounds. Perhaps they’re dreaming about a delicious bowl of food that they can’t quite reach!

Why Do Cats Vibrate Their Mouths

The vibrating sensation in cats doesn’t come from their mouth, but rather from their throat and voice box. Scientists are still figuring out the exact mechanism behind a cat’s purring because it doesn’t rely on just one specific factor.

However, there are some cats that make a chittering sound with their mouths while they hunt and stalk their prey. This sound is known as a chirp and is often seen in indoor cats who spot a bird or rabbit outside the window.

It’s uncertain if the sound signifies annoyance from not being able to act on their natural instincts, mimicking the act of biting their target, or just overall enthusiasm from the stimulation. This behavior is commonly accompanied by wagging their tail or attempting to scratch at the window, which keeps them away from the outside world.

Why Do Cats Vibrate When They Stretch

Cats shake when they stretch to show that they are enjoying themselves and find the stretch pleasant! Kittens start purring when they are very young, even when they are just a few days old. Normally, it indicates that the cat is content and having a good time doing whatever they are currently engaged in.

Although most cats purr, some cats also produce small ‘urps’ or yelps while purring. This can increase the pitch of the purr, giving it a higher sound, and it may seem as if your cat is attempting to sing without actually opening its mouth!

Frequently, a cat will extend its body after sleeping or staying in one position for a while. This indicates that the cat is relaxed, and when it purrs while stretching, it is a way of expressing contentment. The cat might also yawn and find a new comfortable spot, perhaps on your lap, if you’re around. You have a joyful cat!

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Why Do Cats Purr Then Bite You?

As mentioned earlier, cats don’t always purr solely to indicate their happiness. Your cat may be purring as a way to comfort itself, providing reassurance during times of pain or discomfort. This behavior is comparable to how humans meditate or count in their minds.

Your cat might be experiencing pain or fear and attempting to relax. If you mistake this purring as a sign of happiness and approach your cat to pet it, you could unintentionally frighten or harm your cat, resulting in the cat defending itself. This does not indicate your cat’s emotions towards you; animals often become disoriented when they are in pain and may behave aggressively, similar to humans.

However, not every situation can be explained by this. Sometimes, your cat will purr because they are happy, maybe while sitting with you, and suddenly bite your hand when you try to pet them again. This is probably because, like young children, your cat can get overexcited. Even during a fun activity, your cat might have decided that it’s time to stop being petted, and they want you to stop. The appropriate response is to stop petting or scratching your cat. They may or may not get up and leave at that moment.

Usually, a ‘stop, please’ bite won’t cause much pain. It’s just a quick nip that won’t be too painful or cause any skin damage. However, if the bite does break the skin, it’s important to wash the wound and apply disinfectant properly. Cats have many harmful bacteria in their saliva, so if a cat bite is not treated, it can lead to a serious infection.

You can also check this YouTube video about this topic:

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[Wikipedia] [Encyclopedia Britannica] [National Geographic] [cdc.gov] [Purina]

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