When Do Kittens Start Purring?

My guess is, you have probably heard that purring in cats is a sign of contentment and you just can’t wait for the little baby cats to start letting you know how happy they are. That is why you can’t get rid of the question on when do kittens start purring off your head. 

Well, as much as most cat lovers are aware that purring is a sign of contentment, I hate to break up the party but, it is not the only one. Just like cats eating avocados, this is not an open and shut kind of question. Your kittens purring can have different meanings depending on the surrounding and stimuli.

How Do Cats Purr?

Even though we are considered highly intelligent, we have an awful sense of smell and we mainly rely on audio cues. Somehow, cats figured this out and realized the only way they could share their gratitude for our effort in helping to make sure they are comfortable was by purring. But how do they do it?

Cats go back to the great Egyptian era where they were held very highly. Funny enough, the explanations on how they purr have been different and they keep changing. One that makes the most sense explains that cats are able to do this by contracting their diaphragm and larynx in a coordinated manner. In some cats, the contraction are between 25 to 50 times per second but can go as high as 150 times per second. Needless to mention, the interesting cat facts never seem to come to an end.

Through these contractions, the cat is able to separate the vocal chords and push air through the space created causing that audible vibration that we all work so hard to hear from our feline friends.

At What Age do Kittens Start Purring?

Back to the main questions on when do kittens start purring. Kittens start purring when they are a few days old. However, this is not because they are happy with you but, it is a form of communication between the newborns and their caring mums.

Mama cat will purr to let the kittens know she is around and they are protected and they will purr back to let her know everything is fine. You should expect a lot of back and forth purring when the litter is a few weeks old.

It is not until the little ones stop suckling that the purring now becomes directed to their human friends. So you have to wait for your turn.

Why do Cats Purr?

You already know that cats and kittens will purr when everything is fine and most probably after a bowl of scrumptious seaweed. However, they also happen to purr when things are not so good. You probably don’t want to hear this but it is true. Cats will also purr when;

  • When they feel vulnerable and are in scary situations like a trip to the vet. Your cat might also start purring if you keep her hungry for too long.
  • When they are in pain or they are ill. In such instances, the purring is probably to comfort themselves but, it could also be a cry for help for you to comfort them in case you’re listening.
  • When they are in labor
  • When nursing their young. When nursing, the kittens will also purr to let their mum know they are doing great.
  • It is a sign of non-aggression especially towards new cats.

Once your kitty hits maturity, most of his or her purring is directed to you. It is safe to say that cats have developed so many audio cues to communicate with us. We need to do a better job to understand what they are trying to say.

Did You Know These Facts about Purring?

Is it turns out purring in cats is more interesting than just telling you a quick thank you or “How about a few touches on my head?”

  • Purring as healing – research has shown that sounds that have the same frequency as purring can help reduce inflammation and repair bones. In short, purring may help in physical healing
  • Cat purr to help others – cats are quite selfless and while they might not be able to do as much as dogs, they do try their best. If you’re sick or you have another pet in your home that is not feeling well, cats have been reported to come over to purr for you or the sick pet for long periods of time. During this time, the cat will try to snuggle next to the ailing person or animal to achieve maximum effect with the therapeutic purrs.

Round Up 

In your quest to answer your question on when do kittens start purring, you have probably discovered more than you expected about cats and kittens and their deep sense of empathy. If only we could understand them better, we would make better cat lovers.

Rebecca Welters

Yes, I am that weird cat lady with 200 cats and live in the darkest corner of the city where no one dares to go! Joking! But I am a cat lover and have 2 Ragdoll cats called Toby, he's 3 years old and Dory, she's 8 years old. I'm 36 years old and live in the quiet town of Washington.

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