Everyone knows that I purr when I’m happy and contented. So this may seem like a dumb question. But actually, I purr for other reasons too.
- I’m a guy, but if I were a female cat with new kittens, I would be purring whenever I’m around my babies. Mothers are doing essentially the same thing when they hum or sing to their babies. It lets the little ones know mommy is nearby and loves them. When a mother cat purrs, she is also letting her kittens know she’s ready to nurse them. Newborn kittens can’t see or smell very well yet, so the vibrations actually help the kittens find her.
- Humans have special things they do to comfort themselves when they are feeling anxious or tense – such as eating their favorite comfort food, fixing a cup of hot chocolate, or jogging to run off the stress. Sometimes, when I am purring, I am simply de-stressing, reassuring myself that everything is going to be all right.
- If you were my owner, you’d know that when YOU’RE upset – I’m glued right there by your side and purring loudly. Since purring de-stresses ME, I’ll be hoping some of that rubs off on you and lets you know I love you and I’m here for you.
- I purr when strangers meet me for the first time, to let them know I like them and want to be friends.
- I like to purr when my owners are feeding me, especially if they open a can of my favorite food.
- When my owners get home from work, I purr to let them know how happy I am to see them.
- If I’m having a good dream about catching a mouse, I’ll even purr in my sleep.
- I’ve never done this myself, but many cats purr when they are in pain. Scientists have found that purring releases endorphins, which are helpful in reducing pain while healing begins.
- Cats are often used as “therapy animals” in hospitals and retirement homes. It is a well-known fact that owners of purring cats have lower blood pressure, especially as they get older.
So here’s a question for you … do cats purr when they’re alone and there’s no one around to hear them? What do you think?
Have you ever made bread from scratch, or watched someone kneading pizza dough? Cats do virtually the same thing with their front paws. They shift their weight back and forth, spread the toes of the paw they’re about to lean on, and dig their claws into the surface they’re kneading – whether it’s your lap (ouch!), your leather couch, or their favorite blanket. They are usually purring while doing this with a steady, rhythmic motion.
Now when I’m kneading, my mind has gone back in time to when I was a newborn, nursing on mom. To help get the milk flowing, I used to push on her tummy – first with one paw and then the other. Mom was purring, I was getting fed, and life couldn’t be better. I felt safe, loved and contented.
I’ve also noticed that cats knead to mark their territory. Kitties have scent glands in the soft pads on the bottom of their paws. When they knead, their unique scent is released onto the surface being kneaded. So if I am kneading your lap, instead of shoving me off or smacking me, you should be highly complimented. It means I like hanging out with you, and I’m claiming you as my own.
I usually revert back to that old habit of kneading when things are going well and I’m feeling especially happy. By contrast, Keyla – the dog who lives in my house – has a whole different idea about kneading. She kneads her favorite stuffed animal, a dog about twice her own size, to comfort herself when our owners leave the house or she gets upset. I really need to have a talk with her.
To enjoy a cool video of a cat kneading on a sleeping dog, click HERE.
In a purrfect world, I could go outside and get all my scratching done in permitted areas, and then come inside and snooze peacefully, leaving your leather couch alone. But, it isn’t always safe for a cat to go outside, and even outside cats will scratch on the furniture when they are allowed in the house. The fact is – scratching is a natural instinct for cats and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
Cats actually have reasonable explanations for scratching on things. Some of mine are …
- “I need to scratch to sharpen my claws.”
- “I’m scratching to show Fat Cat over there that I’m better than him.”
- “I’m releasing my own scent to mark my territory – so Fat Cat won’t dare come over here.”
- “I’m just so frustrated with the way things have been going around here.”
- “Scratching keep me buff because it pulls, stretches, and works the muscles in my front quarter.”
- “I need to file down my nails and remove the external layer.”
- I just feel like stretching the muscles and ligaments in my toes and feet.”
Cats don’t understand physical punishment, so hitting me when you catch me scratching on your leather couch is not going to help. Cats like rough surfaces that they can shred to pieces – well, you probably already knew that. The solution is to provide “legal” scratching toys and play with your cats on them so they understand it is “ok” to scratch there.
Put your scratching posts and toys in the main areas of traffic flow, where you hang out a lot of the time. Most cats won’t make it to the back bedroom when they feel the urge to scratch. Pretend that you’re scratching the surface, attack the surface, and encourage your cat to play with you. It’s been proven – you can actually train your cat to scratch in appropriate places. Get a City Kitty Climber and watch your kitty have a scratchin’ good time.
Only special people ever get to see my stomach – much less rub or scratch it. To tell the truth, whenever I roll over and ask someone for a belly scratch, this is the ultimate compliment that I can pay to a human being. This means …
- I really love you.
- I’m very comfortable around you.
- I trust you completely.
- I feel totally secure around you.
- I’m trying to get you to pet me or pay attention to me.
- I want to play now.
- My back itches and I’m trying to scratch it.
My stomach area is actually the must vulnerable body part of my body. If I ever fall asleep on my back and you are in the same room, my trust in you must be way out of sight.
I’m really glad you asked why cats stretch so much. Officially cats stretch to tone their muscles, similar to the way you stretch your muscles before beginning an excercise session. S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g causes the veins to be compressed, quickening the rate of blood flow for purification to my heart after the sluggish flow that occurs when I’ve been kicked back, snoozing for a while.
But I have a lot of other reasons for stretching every chance I get.
- I am a hunter by nature. Stretching gets me ready in case a mouse comes by.
- I like to show off my luxurious fur.
- I like to flex my muscles when people or other cats are looking.
- I take little cat naps all day, and when I wake up – it gets my energy fired up.
- Sometimes my back is arched, which means I’m feeling mad or threatened.
What I’ve always wondered about is why you humans stretch so little?
You can learn about the purrfect place for me to stretch at CityKittyClimber.com