Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: The Peoples Republic of Illinois
Volume and intensity of the purr: physiology or personality?
Having 5 cats in the household and experiencing their differing behaviors, it prompted me to question what determines the volume and intensity of a cat's purr.
The reason I question whether it is strictly physiological, is that at least in my household there is a direct correlation between personality and purr. Going from least affectionate to most:
Gizmo - He's very aloof and standoffish. He only ever wants affection on HIS terms. His purr is not audible, even when content. If I put a finger against his throat, I can feel him purring, but cannot hear it.
Oscar - He's more affectionate and very talkative, but definitely not a lap cat. He purrs, but again, not very audible unless he's on the couch doing his "kneading thing". Then you can hear his purr from a foot or two away, but not otherwise. Even then though, it's a very subtle purr, not very motorlike.
Clarice - She's the cranky old lady, always hissing and spitting at the two above. When she wants to snuggle/burrow against me, she has a nice loud rumbling purr. You can't hear it from much of a distance.
There's a pretty big jump between the above three and the last two.
Chubs - He's a big affectionate cuddle monster. He grooms me constantly. He always has a nice loud audible purr that you can hear from 5-6 feet away, and is very easy to feel when petting him. When he's really ecstatic, you can hear the purring escalate in time with his breathing.
Tweetie - My puppycat. He is perpetually purring. I only have to call his name or make eye contact and squint, and he starts purring. He will walk over to me, headbutt me and just start purring out of his mind. When he's really happy, he purrs so loudly and with such intensity that his entire body shakes. You can hear and feel him breathing in time with his purring...
This would imply to me that the more affectionate the cat, potentially the louder the purr... and that the maximum loudness and intensity is more tempermental than being limited by a cat's physiology.
So this begs the question: can you "train" a cat to purr louder?