Do Cats Purr When They Are Sick?

Cats are truly captivating creatures that never cease to amaze us with their unique behaviors. One of the most intriguing of these is purring, a sound that has puzzled cat owners and experts alike for centuries. While we know that cats use purring as a means of communication with their humans, recent research has uncovered a host of health benefits associated with this fascinating vocalization. But what about the other side of the coin? Do cats purr when they are sick?

Determining whether your feline friend is feeling under the weather can be challenging, as cats are masters at hiding their ailments. However, this question deserves closer examination to unravel the truth behind it. Some experts argue that cats purr more when they are unwell, using this sound as a self-soothing mechanism. Others suggest the opposite may be true, as purring can be an energy-consuming process that may be taxing on cats when they’re suffering from a health issue.

In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the world of cat purring and illness. We’ll explore how and why cats purr, examine its potential health benefits, and investigate whether it’s a reliable indicator of feline sickness. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn more about these fascinating creatures’ unique form of communication.

What is Purring?

This low-pitched rumbling sound is produced by vibrations from the cat’s vocal cords and is a defining characteristic of our feline friends.

Interestingly, cats are the only animals that can purr while inhaling and exhaling, making their purring even more special. Not only does this sound signify happiness and contentment, but it has also been shown to have therapeutic benefits for cats, such as reducing stress and promoting healing. In fact, some studies suggest that purring may even help to improve bone density and heal soft tissue injuries.

However, it’s important to note that not all purring is a sign of happiness. In some cases, cats may purr when they are in pain or discomfort. This may be a way for them to self-soothe and alleviate their symptoms. As a cat owner, it’s crucial to pay attention to your pet’s body language and behavior to determine the underlying cause of their purring.

The Purpose of Purring

Purring is a unique characteristic that sets cats apart from other animals. It’s a low, rumbling sound that cats make when they’re happy, content, or relaxed. But did you know that cats may also purr when they’re in pain or sick? Recent studies suggest that purring can serve as a way for cats to self-soothe and manage pain during illness or injury.

However, the primary purpose of purring is to communicate with their owners and other cats. When a cat purrs, it’s a sign that they’re happy and content. You’ll often hear your furry friend purring when they’re being petted or cuddled by you. It’s believed that cats purr to express their affection and bond with their owners. So, if your cat is purring while snuggled up next to you, it’s a good sign that they feel safe and loved.

As a responsible cat owner, it’s crucial to pay attention to the type of purring your furry friend is exhibiting. If the purring seems abnormal or different from the usual happy and content purring, it may be a sign that something is wrong with your kitty’s health. In such cases, taking your cat to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial.

Can Cats Purr When They Are Sick?

It’s a surefire way to know that your furry friend is content and happy. But what about when your cat is sick? Can they still purr?

The answer is yes – cats can indeed purr when they are sick. In fact, studies have suggested that they may even do it more frequently when they’re injured or not feeling well, as a way to self-soothe and promote healing. This is because the vibrations created by purring can stimulate bone growth, ease breathing, and reduce pain and inflammation.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that not all cats will purr when they’re sick. Some may become quiet and withdrawn while others may become more vocal or aggressive. The behavior of a sick or injured cat can vary depending on the underlying condition and the individual personality of the cat.

While purring can be a sign of comfort and healing for some cats, it should not be used as the sole indicator of a cat’s health. As responsible pet owners, we need to be vigilant for any signs of illness or injury in our cats, such as loss of appetite, lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in behavior.

Do Cats Purr to Heal Themselves?

After diving into the research, I can confidently say that purring may indeed have some healing benefits for our feline friends.

One theory is that the vibrations created by a cat’s purr can stimulate bone growth and repair, as well as aid in the healing of soft tissue injuries. The frequency of a cat’s purr falls within a range that is known to promote healing. It’s like having a built-in healing mechanism.

Additionally, when a cat is in pain, its body releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers. Purring may also stimulate the release of endorphins, helping our cats feel better and manage their pain.

But it’s not just physical healing that purring may help with. Purring may also have psychological benefits for cats by reducing stress and anxiety. This could be especially helpful for cats who are sick or recovering from an injury.

While more research needs to be done to fully understand why cats purr when they are sick, it’s clear that this behavior is not just a sign of contentment but also potentially helpful for their well-being. So if you notice your furry friend purring more than usual or in different situations than normal, don’t hesitate to consult with your veterinarian to rule out any underlying health issues.

Other Reasons Why Cats May Purr When Sick

Cats are fascinating creatures, and their behavior can sometimes be hard to decipher. One common question cat owners often ask is whether or not cats purr when they are sick. While purring does typically indicate contentment or happiness, it can also be a sign of pain or discomfort. However, there are several other reasons why a cat may purr when they are sick.


Just like humans may hum or sing to themselves when feeling upset, cats may purr to self-soothe and calm themselves down when they are feeling stressed or anxious due to their illness. Purring releases vibrations that can have a calming effect on both the cat and their owner.


Cats may use different purring sounds to indicate different needs or emotions, such as hunger, fear, or affection. When a cat is sick, they may use purring as a way to signal to their owner that something is wrong and they need attention or assistance.

Genetic Predisposition

Some breeds of cats are more likely to purr than others, regardless of whether they are happy or sick. For example, Persian cats are known for being frequent purrers and may do so even when they are feeling unwell.

Natural Pain Relief

Purring releases endorphins, which are natural painkillers that can help reduce discomfort. Additionally, the vibrations from the purring may stimulate the healing process by increasing circulation and oxygenation to the affected area.

Distress Signaling

Cats may also purr when they are sick as a way to signal their distress or discomfort to their owners. However, it’s important to note that purring should not be the only indicator of your cat’s health. Other symptoms such as lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea should also be taken into consideration.

How to Tell If Your Cat Is Sick

Unlike humans, cats can’t communicate their symptoms, so we must pay attention to their behavior and physical cues. Here are five signs to look out for:

Changes in appetite

A sudden loss of appetite or a dramatic increase in hunger can both be signs of illness. If your cat is not eating or drinking as much as usual, it may be time to call the vet.

Changes in behavior

Cats are known for their playful personalities, so if your usually outgoing kitty is hiding away or being more withdrawn than normal, it could be a sign that something is wrong.

Changes in litter box habits

Pay attention to how often your cat uses the litter box and if they are having any difficulty urinating. If they are urinating more frequently than usual or having trouble going at all, it could indicate an underlying health issue.

Physical changes

A dull coat or discharge from their eyes or nose could suggest that they are not feeling well. Also, check for any bumps or lumps on your cat’s body that were not there before.

Vital signs

Monitoring your cat’s temperature and breathing rate can provide valuable information to your veterinarian when seeking medical attention for your cat.


To wrap things up, it’s safe to say that cats are truly remarkable creatures. They possess the ability to communicate with their owners and fellow feline companions through an extraordinary means – purring. Although commonly associated with happiness, recent studies have shown that this sound can also have a plethora of health benefits.

But what about when cats are sick? Experts suggest that purring can serve as a self-soothing mechanism for cats in pain or discomfort. It can help them manage their pain and promote healing while reducing stress and anxiety during illness or injury.

It’s important to note, however, that not all purring indicates contentment. As responsible pet owners, we must pay close attention to our cat’s behavior and physical cues to determine if they require medical attention. Changes in appetite, litter box habits, behavior, physical changes, and vital signs should be monitored closely.

In conclusion, the question of whether cats purr when they are sick is complex and multifaceted. But one thing is certain – this unique form of communication holds many mysteries yet to be uncovered.