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There's many questions about purring and some questions about how much purring is normal.

Why does my cat (almost) constantly purr while he's awake?

How much purring is too much purring?

What I want to know is why cats purr?

I'm not looking for anecdotal answers, or opinions, I would like well-researched answers, citing reputable sources.

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From Scientific America Why do cats purr?

If it’s a form of communication, it’s meant for those near and dear, since cats purr at a frequency and volume too low to travel far. Purring (and many other low-frequency vocalizations in mammals) often are associated with positive social situations: nursing, grooming, relaxing, being friendly.

From Why Do Cats Purr? It’s Not Just Because They’re Happy

More likely, though, purring is simply soothing, or self-soothing, as cats may also purr in stressful situations. In that case, purring would be akin to how humans soothe themselves by crying, laughing, distracting themselves, or even organizing their desk. Some veterinarians and cat enthusiasts have observed cats lying alongside each other and purring when one is injured (a behavior termed “purr therapy”), though scientific literature on the subject is scant.

Beyond being calming for the injured kitty, “purr therapy” may have bone healing properties. Domestic cats purr at a frequency of about 26 Hertz, in a range that promotes tissue regeneration. That’s not as crazy as it sounds: High-impact exercise promotes bone health for the same reason, because bones respond to pressure by making themselves stronger.

In their natural setting, cats spend a lot of time lying around waiting to hunt, so purring may stimulate bones so that they don’t become weak or brittle.

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