Why doesn’t my cat purr? Reasons for Not Purring

Nothing feels more comforting than a cat’s purr, especially when you are settling for the night or unwinding for the day. It is one of the best things you experience when you share your space with a cat, and you hear such soul-soothing sounds. Purring is one of the sounds believed to lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attack and strengthen bones. Therefore, when your cat fails to purr, you may be left wondering and feeling cheated whether your cat is stressed, unhappy or unhealthy. It is because cats and purring go hand in hand whereby, it is a unique-to-feline vibration that cats produce when happy, contented, and nervous or even when in pain. 

Reasons why a cats purr

Before getting to the reasons why your cat does not purr, let’s begin by exploring why a cat purrs. Purring may be as a result of one of the following reasons:

Help alleviate anxiety and pain.

Ill or stressed cats usually purr to help relieve anxiety and pain. According to scientific research, the cat also produces feel-good endorphins when purring, enabling it to feel better. 

Enable kitten to find their ways to the mother

Generally, newborn kittens are born deaf and blind, and therefore the mother is supposed to purr to help the kittens find their way to her for care, nursing, and warmth.

It is a way of eliciting a positive response.

Purring is one way that a cat is known to portray a positive response from its pet parents as being talked to, petted, or fed.

A cat can also purr when it is contented.

A cat purring can also communicate that it is contented and feeling safe wherever it is. 

Photo by Japheth Mast from Pexels

Reasons that can make your cat not purr

Most pet parents fear that if their cat fails to purr, it might show that they hate them or the kitty is unhappy. However, if your cat dislikes you, it begins exhibiting some actions such as hiding, running away, growing, hissing, shrinking from being petted, biting, or even swiping its paws. Below are some of the issues that may be making your cat not purr. They are as follows:

Separating a cat from litter too soon

It is one of the most common reasons that make your cat not purr because you have taken them away from their littermates and mother when it is not ready to do so. The cat might start displaying some different behavior from their feline family because you simply separated them very early before adopting certain traits.

Your cat might be unwell.

In case your cat has a sore throat, it is most likely not going to purr because purring is a sound produced from the throat region.


Even though a cat may purr to alleviate anxiety, anxiety can also make them stop purring. 


If your cat is injured and is experiencing a lot of pain, it might not purr. Therefore it is important to look for any injuries when purring stops. 

Frightened cat

A frightened cat that is hiding tends to run away, close its eyes, and even stops purring. When the cat is running away and hiding from its enemies, it ensures that it remains silent. Hence purring also stops and only exhibits innate signs of the species. 

Aged cats

Generally, some cats will purr when they are young, but it decreases or even stops as they age. Normally purring is usually produced by blood flowing via a large vein in the feline’s chest cavity. The sound is also amplified by the air in the trachea passing through the two folded membranes referred to as false vocal cords or voice boxes.

Image by Mahnoor Qadri from Pixabay

How can you make your cat purr?

1. Start by understanding the science of a cat’s purr.

Studies carried have shown that there is no specific feature that is responsible for producing the purr in a cat. However, a cat is known to produce the purring sound by twitching nose muscles in the larynx very fast, hence rapidly constricting and dilating the glottis, causing vibrations in the air inhalation and exhalation. Therefore the purring sound is produced with strong harmonics because it is combined with steady inhalation and exhalation as your cat is breathing.

Purring is one of the major ways of communicating with either other cats or humans in the mood of socializing. It is also a normally produced sound with other friendly signals, including slightly closed eyes and an erect tail. Additionally, most people also interpret a domestic cat’s purring as an expression of positive feeling. 

2. Let your cat choose where to lay.

It is one of the most important steps to allow your cat to choose the environment where it can lay comfortably. It is one way of making your cat feel more comfortable and at home when you want to approach them for their daily rub-down. For instance, some cats might feel comfortable when they curl up on the bed, under pillows, or on top of the comforter. Leaving them there makes them feel accepted. You can also allow your cat to lie on their favorite sheets, pet bed, or even a piece of cloth.

3. Bring your cat their favorite things.

When you comfort your cat, ensure you do not do it aggressively, which may be annoying. Also, ensure that it does not look like you want to chase it or want it to play with you. Therefore doing so may make you not be the cat’s favorite human for a while. When your cat is in its favorite position, it is interested in having its best toys, treats, or brushes. 

4. Commence scratching or rubbing your cat

After approaching your cat successfully without provoking it, you can start rubbing or scratching it. You can begin with stocking your cat from his lower neck to its tail. Once you get to its tail, grab it gently and slide your hand down to the end of the tail. You are required to it repeatedly before moving to the cat’s head. After you are done with stocking your cat’s back, you are supposed to start scratching its head. 

You are advised to use your fingers to scratch the top and back of your cat’s head and rub gently where the cat’s ears meet their head. You can tell if you are digging their ears because they tend to flatten their ears to their sides. And in case you are annoying, it bends its ears backward; hence you are required to be more careful. Other cats can find it more enjoyable when you put a finger in their ears and the rest of your hand rubbing it on the sides. You can also try massaging their ears gently. 

5. Move on to hidden areas.

There are a few areas that your cat can consider advantageous when they feel like scratching, and they are not hard to locate. If you ever find your cat nudging your feet with his or her head, then they feel like being vigorously scratched on top of their head. If your cat puts his head randomly in the air while exposing the area of his chin and underside of his chin, consider him or her wanting you to scratch them in that area. Furthermore, if they roll over on their back and stretch, rub under their front and back legs, and rub their front, back legs, and belies.

Cats also tend to love being scratched at their tails’ base and on top of their back. They cannot reach these places with their paws or their tongues. It would be much better if they are helped out by scratching them there.

6. Purring

Cats eventually get to purr after you get all the itching out of their way, especially in the areas they enjoy most being scratched. You may also give them some more treats or keep scratching and rubbing them. It’s a huge satisfaction for your cat to purr and signifies how special the bond is between you and your cat, especially if the cat purrs most for you than any other person.

Cats also get to purr to help relieve their pain or anxiety. Studies have shown that when cats purr, they release feel-good endorphins when they purr, which helps them feel better.

Keep loving and friendly to your cats and strengthen the bond between you two; keep your cats purring.

7. Avoiding any danger from the kitty

Cats can be a bit dangerous or harsh when you force them to play with you or rub and scratch them when they do not want you. A sign that they don’t like what you are doing is when they hiss at you. Back off whenever they do this. And if they tend to wrap themselves against you or begin clawing or chewing, don’t fight him or fling him even if it’s painful or not, they will bite back. Blowing air in their faces is the best way to get them off you if you find yourself in a situation like this; they don’t seem to like this very much.

If your cat is aggressively biting your arm and you find it difficult to get it off, then grab it by the scruff of its neck and ease him off your arm. Hopping this was helpful and got your cat purring.

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Do all cats purr?

Cats communicate in different and many ways; that includes body language, facial expressions, and vocalizations too. All cats don’t need to purr; they might also learn new ways to communicate. So if your cat reaches a point where it does not purr, it means that it has found a new way to communicate. It does not need to purr. Or even his purr may be really soft so that any time it does purr, you don’t easily notice it. For you to at least feel him, if not hear him, try placing your hand on his chest; you will feel a smooth or gentle vibration.

In some cases, It is also noticed that kitties born to feral mothers tend not to purr. Maybe the cats teach the kitty not to purr too loud but to be quiet or smooth so that they will not attract predators. Some cats don’t purr when they are still young; they do when they grow or reach maturity. So unless your cat has been purring but recently stopped, there is no need to worry or rush him to the veterinarian just because he or she does not purr. But if it did use to purr and recently stopped, you may want to look for any signs of illness, injury, or stress-related issues.

Can I encourage my cat to purr?

Yes, you can try several things to encourage your cat to purr. They include:

  • Cuddle your cat and stroke her gently while lying next to him or her.
  • Pet your cat gently behind its ears and under his chin too.
  • Provide him or her with a soft blanket as they enjoy kneading soft surfaces
  • Do not peer directly into your cat’s eyes, as this can imply aggression. You could softly talk to him or her.

The most important thing to do on your cat is to stroke him gently, as plenty as you can. Give him love laps, and sweet soft words that encourage him or her to keep him healthy and happy. Always keep in mind that his playtime, his heart health and his condition, in general, rely on incorporated playtime. This will keep him purring.

If you find any issues with your cat purring or changes in his purring, follow the above guidelines. They will help you figure out what is wrong, and in case of further complications, please consult your veterinarian. Your cat’s health and well-being are extremely important, so it is also advisable to always keep an eye on him in case of any changes. However, it is important to note that your cat may be silent because it is hiding away from its enemy.

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