Why is my cat vibrating? Find out if Your cat is trying to communicate some thing to you

Why is my cat vibrating? Find out if Your cat is trying to communicate some thing to you

So, why is my cat vibrating

We’ve all had a beautiful moment with our kitty companion in which they slumber on our lap while we pamper them on the couch. 

Then we feel and hear them vibrate in unison, a pleasant harmonising hum that is music to our ears. 

So the question is, why is your cat making that noise which sounds like Vibrating? 

You might be shocked to learn that there are numerous reasons why a cat vibrates; read on to learn more.

A vibrating cat is rather common; it is one of the most well-known ways for cats and people to communicate. They use it to coerce us into giving them what they desire, such as water, food, or attention.

Our cats’ automatic vibrating mode is most generally referred to as a purr

As their owners, we live for the privilege of hearing our cat purr. 

If you own a cat, you understand how much their purring is valued and how much of an honour it is when they do it in your company.

Is Purring and Vibrating the same?

Yes! purring and Vibrating are the same. Purring is a soft buzzing sound with a fundamental frequency of about 25 Hz, similar to a rolled ‘r’. 

This sound is accompanied by noticeable vibrations on the body’s surface, changes in a rhythmic pattern during breathing, and occurs continuously during inhalation and exhalation.

Every cat owner desires a good cuddle with their feline companion, especially when they vibrate and purr. 

Stroking that soft fur, scratching behind the ears or under the chin, maybe curled up in front of the TV at night…absolute bliss. 

Is your cat, on the other hand, having as much fun as you are? 

One sure sign is when your pal begins to slowly vibrate, also known as purring. So, what causes cats to vibrate?

What does it mean if my cat is vibrating:

Cats not only purr when they are content and happy, but they also purr during stressful situations or even during trauma.

As per the Research By  Dawn and Rice in 1991. A cat will often purr when it is suddenly and violently injured, even when it is near death.

It’s thought that it’s a self-calming mechanism, so cats may even purr when they’re scared or hurt.

Purring causes the release of endorphins, which are natural analgesics that help with pain relief during the healing process.

Cats, on the other hand, purr when they are content or happy.

Kittens instinctively purr when nursing;

Some cats purr when anticipating their next meal, and it’s well known how a cat will purr when contentedly seated in its owner’s lap.

Purring is thought to have originated as a way for a kitten to communicate with his mother after being born blind and deaf.

It communicates through this deep rumbling, and it can sense its mother communicating through the same means.

Why and How cats Purr/Vibrate:

My cat Zoe( She is Domestic Shorthair) vibrates when I come home from work, or when I wake up in the morning Or when I am relaxing on my couch.

At least, I think she’s vibrating. She makes vibrating sounds, but it’s sort of slow, and she seems to like it.

Also, how is she vibrating, even though I see no movement, and it doesn’t look like she is?

How  & Why is my cat vibrating, and she seems happy that she is? 

Why? when cats give birth, kittens are blind, deaf and cannot smell for some days. 

So purring works to home in on momma cat. When it is feeding time, mommy purrs, kittens feel the vibrations and come home to momma. 

Cats purr when they are content and when they are agitated.

Cats vibrate to express their happiness. Cats get their vibration from their laryngeal muscles. 

Cats purr by closing their mouth and using their throat. Nobody knows why cats purr, but it is a form of communication.

How? It turns out that cats have special wiring! The wiring travels from the brain to the muscles in the voice box, and this wiring is able to vibrate the muscles so that they act as a valve for air flowing past the voice box. 

The muscles work both during inhalation and exhalation, which creates the impression that cats can purr continuously. The air passes through the valve, which opens and closes rapidly to create the purring sound

Cat vibrating while sleeping :

Cats are in REM sleep. To put it more bluntly, they are most likely dreaming.

When mammals sleep their bodies undergo “sleep paralysis”, which prevents them from running around and acting out their dreams.

Like all mammals, cats are paralysed during REM sleep, which is when they dream.

Psychologists theorize that an animal is paralysed during REM to prevent it from getting up and moving around, potentially harming itself.

In cats, what you are seeing are contractions of the muscles that reflect the actions taking place in their dreams—running, jumping, etc.

The cat’s brain is sending out the signals to do those things, but 99% of the motion is shut down.

The American Animal Hospital Association notes that many cats experience small twitches during nap times.

Some experts believe that these twitches may be similar to what humans experience during their rapid eye movement sleep.

In humans this paralysis is complete enough that, except for eye movement, you usually can’t tell when someone is dreaming.

During rapid eye movement, humans experience dreams and it is during this time that the deepest sense of sleep is enjoyed.

Those small twitches could be your kitty simply dreaming about chasing a mouse or playing with her other feline friends.

Reasons why your cat may be purring include:

Your cat is in good mood – If your cat appears relaxed, with half-closed eyes and a mostly still tail, it’s safe to assume they’re purring because they’re in a good mood.

Food on their mind – When it’s mealtime and they’re hungry, cats may purr. 

They combine their normal purr with a “mew” when purring for food.

Kitten-Mother bond – Kittens can purr as young as a few days old, and it is a way for them to communicate with their mothers about where they are and how they are doing. 

Purring also aids in the bonding of a kitten and its mother, and mother cats use purring as a lullaby.

Many cats purr when they are hurt or in pain. Purring is a cat’s way of soothing itself, similar to how a human child will suck their thumb to feel better.

Purring is thought to aid in the healing process in cats

Low frequency purrs cause vibrations within the body that can heal bones and wounds, build and repair tendons, improve breathing, and reduce pain and swelling.

This could explain why cats can withstand high falls and have fewer complications following surgery than dogs.

Whatever the reason for your feline friend’s purr, it is a sound that many cat parents enjoy. The purr is a feline lullaby that soothes both the singer and the listener.

Is it true that cats have control over their purring?

They do not have control over their purring. 

Although the mechanism by which a cat purr is not entirely known, the general assumption is that it is either a result of their general nervous system contracting during inhalation and exhalation or it is an automatic activity performed by their body in reaction to a certain sort of breathing pattern. 

Although it is an unconscious function, some have maintained that cats no longer purr when they sleep.

When cats are left alone, do they purr?

There is no correlation between the purr of a cat and the presence of its human counterpart. 

Apart from talking with their owners to obtain their needs, this does not mean they do not act alone. Cats purring while they are alone is quite likely.

How much purring is too much purring :

Cats purr, as well as meow to communicate. Purring doesn’t always mean the cat is happy. It’s a type of language for the cat.

There has been research into the way cats communicate with their owners and how the different types of meows and purrs evoke reactions in their owners, ultimately helping the cat to communicate her needs and wants and getting them met.

The pitch of the sound will evoke certain emotional responses within cat owners to express whether the cat’s needs are urgent or a signal of being contented.

  1. Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) is also known as the purring disease- is an illness that can be fatal to cats and one of the features is that the cat will continue to purr up until the moment of death or last consciousness before death. The purring may also be more noticeable due to chronic airway congestion. 
  2. I don’t believe that there would be an upper limit for purring in a healthy cat. 
  3. Some cats will be more inclined to purr more than others, for more reasons than are practical to list here. If your cat is not drooling when she purrs, has bad breath, difficulty breathing or sounds congested, and does not have any erratic behaviour, it would most likely be safe to say your cat is healthy.
  4. Interestingly, there is some research into cat’s purring and links to the purrs increasing the pet owners’ health due to the frequency of a cat’s purr resonating with the human body.
  5. It suggests a form of entrainment that is similar to the effects of soothing music on the body that is discussed here Does music affect heart rate?.

Final Thoughts

The purr of a cat is one of the many unfathomable secrets of our planet. 

Although we have a broad notion of why and how they do it, we will never know for certain unless we become cats. 

There are numerous hypotheses as to why they purr, including feelings of enjoyment, contentment, pain, or terror. 

When they are joyful, they purr; when they are fearful, they self-soothe. 

Understanding the fundamentals of why a cat purrs will assist you in treating your cat more effectively as an owner.

Why is my cat vibrating? Find out if Your cat is trying to communicate some thing to you

About Content Reviewer & Vet Expert OnBoard: Antonella, qualified veterinarian. Antonella is passionate about Cats and loves sharing her knowledge and research with you.

At Pet Paws Hub, we strive to be the ultimate resource for learning everything about Owning & caring for your pet!

Learn More about Vet


  1. How Cats Purr By Dawn and Rice
  2. Social organization in the cat: A modern understanding
  3. Emotion Recognition in Cats

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