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How do cats purr? Science can answer that

How do cats purr?  Science can answer that

10/04/2023 “If you don’t like cats, blame yourself.” A cat’s purr has a mysterious effect that can be a particularly effective antidote to the stress that makes our modern lives so sad. This is what researchers and specialists who have been examining tiny fur balls have been saying for several decades.

Of course, there are several other reasons why cats purr:

  • For example, this is how newborn blind and deaf kittens receive the food signal from their mothers,
  • Thus they make their human subjects realize their satisfaction,
  • Or their happiness – the two are often closely linked.

This is also why your cat prefers to purr while kneading you, perhaps while snoring in your lap, or while eating – and less often when he stomps through the door and immediately puts his paws between your ankles. Purring is actually a mutually beneficial deal: your stress level is reduced, and the cat gets petting, food, clean litter, a fluffy bed, and a subordinate to take care of it all.

Come here! But how are they capable of this magical melody?

There is no clear answer to this yet, but scientists from the Institute of Behavioral and Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna in Austria, the Institute of Morphology of the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, Palatske University Olomouc in the Czech Republic, and the FiBL and Research Institute in Switzerland intend to come closer to deciphering it.

the Research reveals the secret of purring Leader Christian Herbst immediately points out one of the most important things: the voice of an animal (or human) is closely related to the length of the vocal cords, two smooth muscle tissues in the larynx. The larger the animal, the longer the vocal cords, which proportionally reduces the frequency of the sound. Due to their small stature, cats have relatively short vocal cords, which they can use to make high-frequency sounds. Hence their after-dinner buzz, which never surprises us anymore.

But this is exactly why purring, which operates at a low frequency of 20-30 Hz, is such an amazing ability.

This is usually explained by the periodic contraction and relaxation of the muscles in the cat’s larynx, which requires constant neural input and some kind of awareness. However, the Herbsts objected to this suggestion, and in order to verify this, they examined the larynxes of eight cats that had been euthanized for an above-average serious disease.

During the research, they noticed that the larynx makes a purring sound when air is blown through it, which does not require any muscle contraction – which also means it does not require conscious action. Instead, purring sounds have been linked to a completely unique tissue pad embedded in the vocal cords, which has been known to exist for some time, but until now was not thought to be responsible for the soothing and satisfying sounds.

The observed mechanism of sound production is strikingly similar to that of “snoring” or “vocal screaming” in humans.

At the same time, it should be noted that this research has not yet refuted the previous hypotheses. A cat may be able to make a purring sound consciously or involuntarily, due to its complex and strange body structure and organs.

It is a mystery, how they can subjugate so large a portion of humanity under their fickle yoke?! Surely the purring has something to do with the matter.

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