Purr-plexed. How to Get Your Cat Purring Again


For cat owners, a cat’s purr is a beloved and familiar sound. However, when a cat stops purring or purrs less frequently than usual, it can cause concern. Purring is often associated with contentment, but there are actually many reasons why cats purr. Understanding the complexities behind a cat’s purr can provide insight into why your cat may not be purring as much lately.

According to one study, a cat’s purr falls within a frequency range of 25-150 Hertz.1 Within this range, vibrations occur that can promote healing and tissue regeneration.2 This suggests that purring may provide physical benefits for cats in addition to signaling contentment. With this in mind, a decrease in purring may indicate an underlying medical, behavioral, or environmental issue impacting your cat’s health and happiness.

Possible Medical Reasons

There are a few medical conditions that could cause your cat to stop purring. Often times if a cat stops purring suddenly, it could be a sign of an injury or illness that is causing them pain or discomfort. Purring is generally an indication that a cat is content, so a decrease in purring can signify that something is wrong.

One common medical reason is dental disease like gingivitis or infected teeth. This can cause oral pain and make purring uncomfortable for a cat. Kidney disease is another possibility, as it often causes nausea which would understandably decrease a cat’s desire to purr. Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland produces excess hormones, and this metabolic imbalance can result in a cat feeling unwell. Illness or injury such as an infection, arthritis, or fracture could also be responsible if it is causing your cat pain.

In all of these cases, a sudden decrease in purring warrants a veterinary exam to diagnose and treat the underlying issue. With proper medical care, your cat’s purr may return once they are no longer in discomfort. Let your vet know when you first noticed the change in behavior, as this can help identify the cause.[1][2]

Behavioral Reasons

Sometimes cats will stop purring for behavioral reasons not related to illness. Common behavioral causes include:

Stress or Anxiety

Cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment and routine. Events that cause stress or anxiety, like moving homes, construction noise, new pets, or strangers, can cause a cat to temporarily stop purring. Try to minimize stressors and make your cat feel relaxed and secure. Using calming pheromones or CBD oil may help an anxious cat feel more at ease. If stress is ongoing, talk to your vet about anti-anxiety medication.[1]

Fear Response

Some cats may stop purring and freeze or hide when frightened. Exposure to loud noises, unfamiliar people, or trauma can trigger this fear response. Be patient, allow your cat to come to you when ready, and try to identify and avoid any triggers that are causing fear or startling your cat. Creating a predictable routine and safe hiding spots can help timid cats feel secure. Consider using pheromone diffusers to promote relaxation.

Age and Senility

Elderly cats with cognitive decline or dementia may stop purring. Other signs include excessive vocalization, forgetting litter box training, and getting lost in familiar areas. Check with your vet to rule out medical issues. Then focus on keeping your senior cat’s environment consistent and comfortable. Extra playtime, affection, and mental stimulation can also help combat senility.

Environmental Factors

Cats are very sensitive to changes in their environment. If a cat has recently moved to a new home, been introduced to new people or pets, or is exposed to loud noises, they may stop purring as a sign of stress or discomfort. According to this article, “Cats who are exposed to loud noises, unfamiliar surroundings, or other stressful stimuli may stop purring as a result.”

Moving to a new home with new sights, sounds, and smells can be overwhelming for a cat. They are creatures of habit who feel most secure with consistency in their environment. Sudden changes like a new home or strangers can cause them to feel anxious and insecure, inhibiting their natural purring instinct.

The arrival of a new person in the home, like a roommate or romantic partner, can also make a cat stop purring. They need time to warm up to newcomers and adjust to their presence. Similarly, introducing a new pet to the home is a huge adjustment for a cat, and the presence of another animal may initially cause them stress and prevent purring.

Exposure to loud noises like construction, loud music, or rowdy gatherings can also make cats stop purring. Their sensitive hearing means loud noises hurt their ears and are overwhelming. Excessive noise overstimulates cats and activates their fear response, making it difficult for them to relax and purr as usual.

Being patient and helping a cat gradually adjust to environmental changes through maintaining their routine, providing reassurance, and allowing them space when needed, can help them eventually return to purring happily once again.

Lack of Attention

Cats thrive on positive human interaction and affection. If your cat is not being petted, held, played with, or given attention as frequently as before, this can lead to changes in behavior like decreased purring.

Cats are social animals that bond closely with their human families. They depend on this daily contact and interaction. When cats don’t receive enough positive attention from their owners, they can become distressed. This may cause them to avoid behaviors they associate with affection, like purring and kneading.

Make sure your cat gets plenty of quality time with you each day. Set aside periods for petting, cuddling, playtime, and showing your cat you care.Increase the amount of attention you give if your cat seems needy. Providing activities, toys, and affection can help restore purring behaviors.

If lack of attention persists long-term, cats may withdraw socially or act out with other behavioral issues. It’s important to identify decreases in attention early and remedy the situation. Consult your vet if problems continue despite increased interaction. But in most cases, simply making sure your cat feels loved will bring back those happy purrs.




Decrease in Kneading

Kneading and purring are connected behaviors in cats. When cats knead, they are feeling content and relaxed, which also leads to purring. So a decrease in kneading can be related to a decrease in purring as well. According to https://pethelpful.com/cats/My-Cats-Purr-and-Knead-Me-Why-Do-They-Do-That, kneading releases scent from pheromone glands in a cat’s paws, marking territory and objects. If your cat is kneading less, it may purr less as a result.

One reason for less kneading can be arthritis or injury, especially in older cats. Joint pain and stiffness make it difficult for cats to knead comfortably. Getting a vet checkup can identify if arthritis is the cause. Managing arthritis through medication, joint supplements, or gentle massage can potentially help a cat start kneading and purring again.

When to Seek Help

Avoiding purring alone may not merit an immediate trip to the vet. However, if accompanied by other concerning symptoms or persists over time without explanation, it’s wise to seek veterinary help.

Look for signs like lethargy, vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite or thirst, weight loss, and behavioral changes. Monitor your cat closely over a day or two. Lack of purring alongside concerning symptoms warrants a prompt vet visit to identify any underlying illness.

Even if no other symptoms emerge but the lack of purring continues for over a week with no obvious behavioral or environmental trigger, it’s a good idea to contact your vet. While not an emergency, prolonged lack of purring could signal developing health issues worth having checked out.

Vets can run tests to diagnose illness and get your cat purring happily again with proper treatment. Don’t delay if accompanied by other symptoms or persists longer than expected without explanation. It’s better to be safe than sorry when monitoring your cat’s health and wellbeing.


If there is an underlying medical issue causing your cat to stop purring, the first step is to address that through proper veterinary care. Cats may stop purring due to dental disease, respiratory infections, arthritis, or other conditions that are causing them discomfort or pain. Diagnosing and treating the medical issue can help resolve the decrease in purring.

If stress or fear is the reason for the lack of purring, anti-anxiety medication may be an option under the guidance of your veterinarian. Medications like fluoxetine or buspirone can help reduce anxiety in cats. This may allow your cat to feel more relaxed and reinstate purring behavior.

Giving your cat more positive attention through play, treats, grooming, and affection can also encourage purring. Make your cat feel safe and loved by dedicating focused time to interact in ways they enjoy. Building confidence through a consistent, caring routine helps minimize stressors that may inhibit purring.


There are some steps you can take to help prevent your cat from stopping its purring:

Reduce Stressors – Try to minimize stressful situations for your cat. Keep its routine consistent, avoid loud noises or changes to their environment, and make sure they always have a quiet place to retreat to. Reducing stress will help keep your cat happy and purring.

Provide Enriching Environment – Make sure your cat has plenty of toys, scratching posts, cat trees, and opportunities for playtime and exercise. Keep them mentally and physically stimulated. An enriched environment will keep them engaged and content.

Regular Vet Checkups – Get your cat checked by a vet twice a year. Discuss any behavioral changes and have the vet ensure your cat is in good health. Address any medical issues early on that could lead to discomfort or pain and impact purring.

Citing references: Source 1


In summary, there are many possible reasons why your cat may have stopped purring, including medical issues like respiratory infections, dental disease, or pain, as well as behavioral causes like stress, decreased attention, or changes to their environment. While purring is an important way cats communicate happiness and contentment, the occasional decrease is not always a cause for alarm.

However, significant or prolonged changes in purring behavior can signify an underlying issue, so it’s important to monitor your cat and watch for any other symptoms. Examining their environment for stressors and spending quality time bonding through play and petting can help mitigate behavioral causes. If the decreased purring persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, consulting your veterinarian is recommended to check for potential illness and get proper treatment.

Though distressing for owners, keep in mind that most causes of decreased purring are temporary or manageable with some care and attention to your cat’s needs. By staying observant of your cat’s health and happiness, you can help get those rumbly purrs rumbling again.

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