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9 Explanations For What Does It Mean When A Cat Purrs Loudly

9 Explanations For What Does It Mean When A Cat Purrs Loudly

Each of you has certainly heard your cat purring on some occasions.

This is a soft buzzing sound that kind of sounds like a rolled “r” with a frequency of around 25 Hz.

This vibrating sound is produced by a cat’s laryngeal muscles. Most usually, cat parents associate the purring sound with happiness.

But, is this always the case? What if you suddenly notice a change in your cat’s purring? What does it mean when a cat purrs loudly?

There are nine common explanations for your cat to produce this sound loudly. Let’s investigate them and see whether this requires you to assist and help your feline friend.

1. Basic Genetics

American Bobtail

The first thing to consider here is your cat’s breed. Perhaps you haven’t paid much attention to just how loud your cat’s vocalization is.

Some cats are simply louder than others. Besides their purrs, their meowing and chirrups are also more noticeable and something you simply can’t ignore.

Acoma Animal Clinic points out how the following are the most vocal cat breeds:

• American Bobtail

• Bengal

• Ocicat

• Siamese

• Siberian

• Turkish Angora

• Turkish Van

Therefore, a cat purring loudly could just be a part of its nature and genetics. This sound doesn’t mark any specific mood in your cat: It’s just an inherited trait.

2. Contentment

cat purring

People didn’t simply come up with the idea that a purring cat is a content cat. On many occasions, purring indeed is a sign your cat is happy and satisfied.

Purring can be both voluntary and involuntary, so, your cat can show you this sign of contentment in a situation that really makes it feel happy. 

For instance, you may hear your cat purring loudly while petting it. Or, when it’s meal time or it sees you approach with its favorite treats!

You could also notice your cat purring while you two are lounging on a sofa and just chilling. This can be something many cats enjoy doing – just sharing some bonding time with their owners.

Loud purring in situations like these indicates that a cat is fully relaxed, happy, and even excited. There isn’t anything it perceives as a threat in its surroundings.

Everything is just fine for you vocal purring queen. Therefore, just keep up the good work!

3. Attention Seeking

cat wants attention

Loud purring can also be a sign that your cat needs something.

You’re just spending some time alone, and you’re hearing your pet loudly purring from the other room. Most likely, this means that your cat is trying to get you to come to it.

There is obviously something it needs. This could be food, water, to go outside, or to get you to clean its litter box. Your cat could also just request you spend some time with it. Remember to always have at least a short playing or petting session with your furry friend daily!

Many people perceive cats as aloof and solitary, but domestic felines are accustomed to human company. Moreover, they enjoy interacting with us, and many of them need their people around to be fully content.

Some cats get so far that they will demand attention from their owners as soon as they get involved with any other activity.

Therefore, loud purring can be your cat’s technique to seek your attention and put its needs in the center of attention.

4. Fear

scared cat

Together with showing satisfaction, loud purring in cats can also be a sign of fear and distress.

This is something you should be able to recognize in your pet. There are, of course, some specific situations where you’ll easily notice fear response in your cat.

For instance, your cat is likely to purr loudly, tremble, and refuse to leave your side during a veterinary visit.

Furthermore, there are other situations and causes of fear in felines. Some become fearful during thunderstorms or while hearing loud construction noises.

In some cases, it may seem that your cat is afraid of something you can’t even see. This can be something we miss to notice, such as a guest in the house, or even a harmless thing like locating your cat’s bed or food bowl.

Cats dislike change, so they usually aren’t fans of new people, places, and pets. 

Regardless of the trigger that causes your cat to purr loudly due to fear, it’s crucial to identify it promptly. 

You shouldn’t yell at it to stop, but rather encourage it and offer some alone time in a place where your cat feels most safe.

Offer your care and understanding and, if possible, eliminate the source of fear from your cat’s surroundings.

5. Territorial Behavior

aggressive cat

Purring can be a way for a cat to show territorial behavior.

In this case, a cat most likely won’t show aggressive behavior towards the other cat. It’s just letting it know that it is its territory in a friendly way.

So, if your cat purrs loudly when sees another cat, this isn’t something you should be worried about.

You’ll notice a potential aggressive behavior associated with territory with some other specific behaviors. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, these are hissing, chasing, swatting, and attacks.

Also, an aggressive cat usually has upright ears, a straight-legged posture, and constricted pupils.

6. A Cat In Heat

cat laying in the house

If you have a female cat that has reached its sexual maturity, loud pouring may be one of the indicators that she’s in heat.

This means that it’s ready for mating and is looking for males in her vicinity. Other signs of a cat in heat are loud meowing and rubbing against anything, becoming more affectionate, and licking the back end more than usual.

The loud vocalization can become quite bothersome when cats are in heat. They will continue to go into heat until they are either spayed or become pregnant.

You could also face your cat running away from home to find a mate. 

To avoid these undesirable behaviors, as well as unwanted pregnancies, you should have your cat spayed. Your veterinarian will explain the procedure to you in detail, as well as the process of recovery.

7. Maternal Instincts

cat with kittens

There’s also an additional reason related to female cats when it comes to loud purring.

Newborn kittens rely on their mother for everything in their first couple of weeks. Their mother feeds them, keeps them warm, grooms them, and protects them from predators and dangers.

Young kittens are deaf and born with their eyes closed, so, purring is a great way for them to feel their mother and drink her milk.

If they are separated, a mother will purr loudly to reveal her location and to make it easier for her offspring to find her. Sometimes the kittens may purr in return.

Purring in this case presents a special form of bonding and communication between mom cat and her young.

8. A Way Of Soothing You

There have been many assumptions related to a cat’s ability to understand human emotions.

Some people claim that cats don’t understand how we feel. Even if they do, they don’t actually care that much. On the contrary, there are also opinions that felines are capable of recognizing our moods and even sympathizing with their humans.

Angelo Quaranta and his associates [1] investigated emotion recognition in cats. The results of their study showed that cats are able to integrate visual and acoustic emotional signals. They also show a functional understanding of highly arousing emotions.

Therefore, it can be said that domestic cats nowadays have developed social skills that help them understand our emotions in a way.

Your cat’s loud purring can be related to this ability. It’s possible that your cat notices when you’re feeling down or in a bad mood.

By purring loudly, it’s trying to soothe you, because you’re its favorite human. This is their natural instinct, since young kittens purr when they feel one of the littermates is feeling sick.

Therefore, purring here is a way for a cat to try to heal its loved ones.

9. Pain

sick cat

Finally, loud purring can indicate that your cat isn’t feeling well.

While people typically associate purring with contentment, it can also signal pain in felines.

This can be a cat’s attempt to soothe itself. Your cat could be in pain for many different reasons. It could have suffered an injury, got in a fight with another cat, or, perhaps, there’s an underlying health issue.

You should observe whether there are any other signs of distress in your cat. These could be gastrointestinal problems, changes on its skin and coat, hiding behavior, and fever.

The only smart thing to do here is take your cat to a vet clinic. The veterinarian will examine it and conduct the necessary analysis to set up the diagnosis.


What does it mean when a cat purrs loudly?

There are several explanations for this type of vocalization. Your cat could just be fully relaxed and happy. This could also be its way to seek attention for you. Loud purring may be a sign of heat or a maternal instinct in cats.

However, loud purring could happen due to fear or sickness in your cat. 

In many cases, you’ll be able to recognize the cause of purring from the context of the situation. If pain appears to be the most likely cause, please reach out to your veterinarian.


[1] Quaranta A, d’Ingeo S, Amoruso R, Siniscalchi M. Emotion Recognition in Cats. Animals (Basel). 2020 June 28;10(7):1107. DOI, Retrieved November 3, 2023.