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When the Cat Doesn’t Purr?

  • 5 min read

What is Purring?

Purring is a typical feline behavior. That’s why cat owners often worry when their cat doesn’t purr. But that can be normal. There are several reasons why cats don’t purr (anymore). Read here what they are. While purring is considered a typical feline behavior, it doesn’t mean that it’s not “abnormal” if a cat doesn’t purr. Every cat is different, so some will purr more, others less – and some won’t at all. Even if a cat has actually always purred and suddenly stops purring, there can be various reasons behind it, which do not always have to be bad immediately.

Cat hanging on leg

Cat doesn’t purr – doesn’t she feel well?

Purring is often seen as the ultimate sign of cat well-being . As a result, many cat owners worry when their cat doesn’t purr, fearing that they may be unwell, unhappy, or not loving their human.

But purring isn’t the only signal cats use to express satisfaction and affection . Other behaviors include:

  • The cat will snuggle up to you and rub its head against your hand/head/legs.
  • The cat caresses your legs.
  • The cat seeks your closeness and lies down on you.
  • The cat lifts its head when you pet its chin and leans forward properly (though not all cats like being petted there)
  • Cats also blink to show that they are in a friendly mood.

Overall, it’s fair to say that your cat’s overall behavior says a lot about its well-being, not just the purr. A happy cat behaves differently than an unhappy one!

Cat doesn’t purr because it’s sick

If your cat used to purr all the time but then suddenly stopped purring, it could also be due to illness . If this is the case, the cat usually shows other symptoms or behavioral changes . For example, look out for:

  • changed eating habits
  • increased need for rest
  • Skin or coat change
  • Changes in the eyes or nose
  • cat vomits
  • Diarrhea
  • uncleanliness
  • signs of pain

If your cat exhibits other unusual behaviors or symptoms of illness, consult a veterinarian . If he doesn’t find anything, your cat could also have mental problems or trauma .

Caution: Cats also purr, or especially when they are in pain, to calm themselves down. A cat can also be sick “although” it purrs.

Cat being petted

Cat doesn’t purr because it’s stressed

Cats are very sensitive animals that can be stressed by a wide variety of situations. Some cats may express this stress by not purring, or by stopping purring temporarily. One cause can be a change in the cat’s life , such as a move or a new person moving into the household. Cats are often very sensitive to such changes and this can become even more so with age . As a result, cats may temporarily stop purring until they get used to a new situation. Therefore, always try to make changes as cat-friendly as possible.

Other causes of stress can be, for example, that the cat has nowhere to rest in the apartment , there is always a lot of noise or it is dissatisfied with its litter box . If you have a generally very anxious cat , you should give her a lot of security and avoid even small stressful situations as much as possible.

Cat needs time to purr

Some cat owners worry when their new cat doesn’t purr . But that can be absolutely normal! It just takes a lot of cats a long time to gain real trust in their new people and to purr to show them their affection and comfort. It can therefore be months or even years before a cat starts to purr.

This is often the case with cats who have a history of bad human experiences or other traumatic experiences.

Some cats cannot purr

Many cat owners report that their cat doesn’t purr at all – has never purred before and hasn’t started to purr for many years. This can simply be because some cats can’t purr ! A malformation of the vocal cords, for example, can be to blame for this.

You can have this checked out by your vet, but there’s usually nothing worse than a cat not being able to purr.

Conclusion: When cats don’t purr

Purring can express satisfaction and affection in cats, but it doesn’t have to. Even if a cat doesn’t purr, it can still be happy and content. If you are considerate of your cat’s needs, treat her humanely and give her love, then she will love you too, whether it’s purring or otherwise. If a cat suddenly stops purring, watch for other changes and consider what could be the cause. Then, either see a vet if you suspect a physical cause, or remove the stressor you suspect is causing the purr to stop.

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Hamna Nasir is a dedicated cat lover, avid traveler, and accomplished author. Born and raised in the bustling city of San Francisco, Hamna's education journey led her to Boston where her interests expanded and intersected in unexpected ways. Hamna's ontent explores a multitude of topics, from preparing your cat for its first trip and choosing pet-friendly accommodations to understanding feline behavior in different environments. Her first-hand experiences, love for storytelling, and unwavering commitment to enhancing the bond between cats and their owners have earned her a devoted following. Her insights have been celebrated by pet lovers, adventure enthusiasts, and travel bloggers alike.