Researcher Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler believes cats might have developed a purring mechanism as a way for kittens to communicate with their mothers even while they are nursing. One cat in the United Kingdom is making noise as the world’s loudest purer.
How loud is your cat?
The voice of one cat in Great Britain is topping the charts. With a purr that has hit 67.7 decibels, Smokey is nearly as loud as a lawn mower.
News outlets reported earlier this month the gray and white tabby has snared a place in the Guinness World Records—the ultimate cat’s meow for a feline that’s about 16 times louder than average.
Smokey, who roared into the record books with a little coaxing from a piece of ham, is rarely quiet, says pet parent Ruth Adams.
Ms. Adams admitted the hair dryer-loud rumble from her cat’s chest can be “annoying.”
“It’s not just the volume of her purr which is unusual,” Ms. Adams said. “She makes quite a unique sound, as if she has a dove stuck in her throat. My daughter thinks it is adorable.”
No matter whether it sounds like a bumblebee or a jet plane taking off, a cat’s purr can communicate a range of feelings. Most pet parents assume their cat is purring because she’s happy, but cats also purr when they’re sick or afraid.
Purring likely has a purpose, since so many kinds of cats, including cheetahs, pumas, servals, and ocelots, do it, according to an article by researcher Elizabeth Von Muggenthaler.
Ms. Muggenthaler believes purring’s purpose is therapeutic. She recounts one case in which a cat who was struggling to breathe made a dramatic recovery after starting to purr. Moments earlier, the cat’s health was considered so poor, euthanasia was considered.
Ms. Muggenthaler argues that the vibrations from purring just might contribute to bone healing and growth, pain relief, and improvement from respiratory distress. The vibrations might be why cats seem to have 9 lives and heal relatively quickly from injury.
Smokey’s purr could bring him some fame, but if Ms. Muggenthaler is right, it’s already brought her—and no doubt, her pet parents—many benefits.
To hear Smokey’s purr, visit her website at Smokey the Purring Cat.