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Cat Does Not Purr: 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons

Written by: Christian Adams

Last Updated on April 29, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

British Shorthair

Cat Does Not Purr: 4 Vet-Reviewed Reasons


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca Photo


Dr. Marta Vidal-Abarca

Veterinarian, BVSc GPCert (Ophthal) MRCVS

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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It is not fully understood why cats purr or how they do it, but you can generally expect your beloved feline family member to purr when they are feeling content. Purring is typical of cats when they are being petted while cuddling in laps or sunbathing by a window. Some cats purr just because they feel like it. However, cats sometimes purr when they are feeling ill or in pain.

Therefore, you must pay attention to a cat’s mood and physical behavior to determine why they are purring. Moreover, some cats never purr their whole life, and others that once purred stop purring. But why is this? Below, we’ll discuss why your cat may not be purring and whether there is anything you can do about it.


Potential Reasons Why Your Cat Is Not Purring

1. They Just Do Not Feel Like It

Sometimes, cats do not purr because they do not feel like doing it. Just because your cat is not purring does not mean they are unhappy. It means that they do not need to purr.

If your cat usually purrs when you pet them but fails to purr occasionally, chances are that they do not want to at that time. However, if your cat stops purring entirely whenever you pet them, there may be another reason for the silence.

cat being petted
Image Credit: Paul Hanaoka, Unsplash

2. They Are Satisfied

Sometimes, cats will not purr because they are completely satisfied with their situation. Some cats will purr and show affection until they get what they want, like dinner. Then, when they have achieved their goal of getting what they want, they stop purring and go on about their business as if nothing ever happened.

3. They Are Ill or Injured

A cat might purr as a response to stress or pain when ill or injured, but cats commonly stop purring altogether until they feel better. If your cat is not purring due to an injury or illness, you may notice other signs of discomfort, such as whining, lameness, vomiting, and lethargy.

You can check for injuries by watching them move or lightly rubbing your cat’s body to see if any area is sensitive to the touch. Also, inspect their mouth and teeth. Any signs of illness or injury related to a lack of purring should be brought to your veterinarian’s attention immediately.

sleepy cat
Image By: sleepy cat, Unsplash

4. They Are Simply Getting Old

Aging cats may change their habits as they grow older, and some reduce their frequency of purring. They may prefer using their energy to eat and play instead. Even though they are not purring, old cats can be just as content as younger cats.

On the other hand, it is also possible that some cats may purr more as they get older.

What to Do About a Lack of Purring

When you notice a lack of purring in your cat, you should start watching them closely and try to understand the reasons behind the change. If they seem under the weather, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to see if anything can be done to make them feel better.

They might start purring again once they feel more like themselves. If your cat does not feel like purring, all you can do is love them and encourage them with petting and cuddling. If they are getting old, you may have to live with the lack of purring, but you can still expect the love and attention you have always received.

cat paw divider

Final Thoughts

Everyone loves to hear their cats purr. The sound and feel of purring can reinforce the fact that they are happy. But just because your cat is not purring does not mean that you are doing anything wrong or that they are unhappy in any way.

Keep an eye out for signs of trouble, but if you do not see any, chances are that your cat just is not interested in purring. How often does your cat purr, and do you ever notice them not purring when you expect them to? Let us know about your experiences by leaving us a comment!

Featured Image Credit: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek, Shutterstock

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