Saturday, June 25, 2022

Why lions can't purr but we can.


Lions can't purr.

They can roar because they are big animals with no real enemies except humans. They can make all the noise they like - to see off rivals or attract a mate - without having to worry that a bigger animal will hear them and hunt them.

But they can't purr. 

So we are superior to lions in purring.

We can purr like a contented universe humming to itself. It's a long low sound that mother cats and kittens make together in the safety of the nest, knowing that quiet hum won't arouse any predators. It's the sound of safety, of happiness, and of love in that blissful nest.

Why can't lions purr? It's a bit of a mystery. It's not just size. Cheetahs can purr, for example: so can snow leopards.

It used to be thought this was something to do with small hyoid bone in the throat and whether it was rigid enough to make a roar but too rigid for a purr. Now scientists have started to argue against this, saying it might be something to do with the folds of the vocal tract.

Purrng is still a wonderful mystery. 

We purr without pausing for breath because we purr continuously on the in-breath and on the out-breath. Not many animals can do this. 

Humans can't purr. We are their superior in purring.


  1. Humans try, and they can certainly do circular breathing to, say, play bagpipes and other wind instruments. But for all that effort the effect is . . . noisy!

  2. Purring is wonderful ! And even though our human is of Scottish descent, she is not ready to compare the sound of purring to the sound of the bagpipes.


Help for cats whose humans show behaviour problems.

This blog is devoted to the study of human behaviour. We cats, who live with this sometimes unpredictable and always feeble minded species, can benefit from seeing their behaviour in its proper scientific context. The study of feline dilemmas, training problems, and difficulties with humans, can only benefit all of us. All of us train our humans - to buy the right food, for instance, but many of us do not have knowledge of how to improve our training methods. The human species is obviously not as intelligent as the cat, but nevertheless can learn quite a lot - if properly managed. Topics of interest include the use of claw and order, purring as a human reward, rubbing your human up the right way, when to bite, spraying as a method of making our wishes known, ignoring the human, human harassment, human inattention and sheer human stupidity. I welcome your questions. Photos can be sent via my secretary's website, This blog has been chosen as one of the top 50 feline blogs by Online