Tuesday, December 9, 2008

What Does A Cat's Purr Mean?

From Cheryl Falkenburry, Animal Behavior Coach

My cat never purred much when she was younger, but now that she’s 15 she’s started to purr all the time. Any clue as to what turned on her motor all of a sudden?

Cats do not always purr out of contentment. You may want to get your cat to the vet and have her checked out. Sometimes cats will purr when they are in pain. At 15, your cat may be experiencing some arthritis or perhaps has a urinary tract infection. I would get her to the vet to be on the safe side.

Cats also will purr when anxious. If changes have been made in the household, your cat may be reacting to those changes. Sometimes with older animals it can be something as simple as a new piece of furniture moved into their territory.

Think if anything new has happened in the house—people, schedule changes, items. If you do have a change, you can help your cat accept it by making positive things happen in reference to that change.

If it’s a new person in the house, have that person feed the cat. Put treats around the person as they sit still on the floor. If it’s a piece of furniture, feed the cat near the furniture. Play with the cat near the new item.

When positive things happen around new things, those items/people become really cool to have around. If no physical problem is found and no change in the environment has occurred, then perhaps your cat has decided that the golden years are wonderful, and she’s sitting back, watching the world go by, and purring to let everyone know that life is good.

Cheryl Falkenburry, Animal Behavior Coach, helps make sense of mind-boggling animal behavior. Visit her website for other behavior tips. Set up a private session to work directly on your pet's problem.

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