It takes quite a racket to be heard over the sound of a hair dryer or one of those awful window air conditioning units, but that’s no problem for Merlin the cat. The 13-year-old, black-and-white British rescue kitty purrs so loudly he has earned a spot in Guinness World Records 2016.
What really gets Merlin’s motor running? Apparently tuna-flavored cat food does the trick. When Merlin gets going, his owner, Tracy Westwood, has said she often has to repeat herself to be heard.
“If he’s cleaning he gets louder, and sometimes if the telephone rings I do get people asking me what’s that noise in the background,” Westwood told Guinness World Record. “I tell them it’s the cat, but I don’t know if they believe me.”
Here’s a list of things Merlin’s happy rumble is louder than: a vacuum cleaner, an air conditioner, a shower, a dishwasher, a motorcycle, a hand drill, a lawnmower, and a lion’s roar. For comparison, most domestic cats purr around 25 decibels, but Merlin has topped 100.
Not convinced that Merlin’s purr is the conversational equivalent of someone blasting death metal with their windows down next to you at a stoplight? Check out this video of him in action.
It’s worth acknowledging that Smokey, the British Shorthair Merlin beat out to achieve the world record, also has a rather deafening purr at 92 decibels, which is apparently the same as an airplane coming into land.
According to the Daily Mail, Smokey’s owners, Ruth and Mark Adams, say their cat’s “cooing purr” sounds “as if she has a dove stuck in her throat.” In the video below, Smokey continues to purr while eating, with the narrator stating, “She never shuts up.” Ruth Adams also reports that Smokey has a penchant for purring during the most romantic parts of movies.
For comparison, here’s a video of a cheetah purring while a couple of humans gently stroke his spotted head, which is both amazing and stupid and totally now on my bucket list.
Finally, let’s not forget the many purported health benefits of hanging out with a purring cat, including lower blood pressure and stress levels. This video offers 10 straight hours of gentle, soothing purring to suit your sleep, meditation, and yoga needs.
Sure, Smokey’s and Merlin’s purrs may be more like shouting your feelings instead of just talking about them during Law & Order commercial breaks like normal people, but they’re magical just the same.