Our Cat's Place – Living With Cats

thoughts, articles, & information on cats, their behavior, and their relationships with us.

  • Nov 13

    Cat Close-Up - HD Desktop/photosFrom: Dr Andrew Jones, DVM

    No one knows for sure why a domestic cat purrs, but many people interpret the sound as one of contentment. Our understanding of how a domestic cat purrs is becoming more complete; most scientists agree that the larynx (voice box), laryngeal muscles, and a neural oscillator are involved.

    Kittens learn how to purr when they are a couple of days old. Veterinarians suggest that this purring tells ‘Mom’ that “I am okay” and that “I am here.” It also indicates a bonding mechanism between kitten and mother.

    As the kitten grows into adulthood, purring continues. Many suggest a cat purrs from contentment and pleasure. But a cat also purrs when it is injured and in pain. Dr. Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler has suggested that the purr, with its low frequency vibrations, is a “natural healing mechanism.” Purring may be linked to the strengthening and repairing of bones, relief of pain, and wound healing

    This is a link to that paper:

    http://www.animalvoice.com/catpur.htm

    Purring is a unique vocal feature in the domestic cat. However, other species in the Felidae family also purr: Bobcat, Cheetah, Eurasian Lynx, Puma, and Wild Cat (Complete list in Peters, 2002). Although some big cats like lions exhibit a purr-like sound, studies show that the Patherinae subfamily: Lion, Leopard, Jaguar, Tiger, Snow Leopard, and Clouded Leopard do not exhibit true purring (Peters, 2002).”

    What makes the purr distinctive from other cat vocalizations is that it is produced during the entire respiratory cycle (inhaling and exhaling). Other vocalizations such as the “meow” are limited to the expiration of the breath.

    It was once thought that the purr was produced from blood surging through the inferior vena cava, but as research continues it seems that the intrinsic (internal) laryngeal muscles are the likely source for the purr. Moreover, there is an absence of purring in a cat with laryngeal paralysis. The laryngeal muscles are responsible for the opening and closing of the glottis (space between the vocal chords), which results in a separation of the vocal chords, and thus the purr sound. Studies have shown, that the movement of the laryngeal muscles is signaled from a unique “neural oscillator” (Frazer-Sisson, Rice, and Peters, 1991 & Remmers and Gautier, 1972) in the cat’s brain.

    Source: Library of Congress

  • Jun 12

    — by Ariane Franke

    My cat Misty is getting on a bit and has started to pick up digestive and urinary problems that many cats tend to have when they get older. She is 15 years old now and might only three or four years left in her. She has had a good life though and I expect she’s had many adventures with other cats in our area as we live in quite a cat friendly neighbourhood. When I started noticing that Misty was finding it harder to digest her food the first thing I did was to change her usual cat food.

    I’m not a cat expert when it comes to the science-side of things and I kind of took what my vet told me and researched it a little bit more on the Internet. From what I can gather the main problem is that Misty has difficulty with bladder stones, which basically unbalances her urine and pH level causing digestion problems and pain. Following what information can be found on the Internet and advice from my vet I decided to go for Royal Canin Urinary SO that I could buy from the online pet shop Nutrecare. The reason why I chose this and you’ll have to bear with me because as I said I’m not too great on the science-side of things, but a lot of treatments out there tend to focus on only one type of urinary problem, which can actually increase the risk of contracting another type of infection!

    According to the information I have read from the Royal Canin Urinary SO packaging, this product actually tackles the two types of bladder infections that cats usually tend to get. Since I started treating Misty with this solution I have noticed a huge difference in her and she seems to be passing urine a lot easier than before. I have also noticed that she is a bit livelier so that seems to be a definite positive result. I will still be keeping an eye on the situation and ensure that she gets a regular dosage of this urine treatment.